By Katie Zakrzewski
The Inflation Reduction Act is the law of the land, and while the emissions gap is smaller than it was before, we still need to close the gap. This means encouraging our members of Congress to pass policies that close the gap and create a more livable world.
Of course, CCL will continue to push for a much-needed carbon price. In fact, several carbon pricing bills will be introduced in the next Congress, including the Energy Innovation Act, and carbon pricing bills that focus on a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAMs).
However, with this being a lame duck session, there are others things that we can be getting done. By finishing the year out strongly, we can continue to build the foundation for a carbon price and other big wins in the next Congress. This is the time of year when members of Congress push for big legislative end-of-the-year packages. This allows for a cleaner slate before the next Congress, and gives more flexibility for members of Congress. Our deadline for getting legislation passed is just a couple days before Christmas Day, or whenever Congress adjourns after passing the omnibus package.
CCL has two major priorities for this lobby push to help us finish strong:
- Reinforce the tremendous victory of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with Democrats.
- Get more climate wins, such as the Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA), the Reinvesting In Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems Act (RISEE), and the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (NCARS) over the finish line.
These bills are especially important, as smaller bipartisan victories make bigger victories down the road easier and build bipartisan engagement on climate.
CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Pendergrass and Senior Director of Government Affairs Jenn Tyler recently led a training on these policy asks. You can watch that training below. Otherwise, read on for a brief summary of that training.
“Traditionally we’ve had one major primary ask, but in order to get these remaining bills across the finish line, we have multiple,” Ben explains.
You can find all of the primary and supporting ask sheets and summaries here.
Asks for Senate Democrats
For the Fall 2022 lobbying session, be sure to thank Senate Democrats for passing the Inflation Reduction Act, while politely letting them know that we still think a carbon price is necessary to hit our emissions target. You can encourage Senate Democrats to finish strong by asking them to cosponsor and pass the RISEE Act (S.2130) and the NCARS Act (S.3531). Keep in mind that cosponsorship will build momentum for passage in one of the end-of-year packages.
Asks for Senate Republicans
Remind Senate Republicans that they can make America resilient by cosponsoring and passing the NCARS Act (S.3531) and the RISEE Act (S.2130). Additionally, be sure to ask Senate Republicans to cosponsor and pass the FOREST Act (S. 2950).
Asks for House Democrats
Be sure to thank House Democrats for passing the Inflation Reduction Act while politely letting them know that we still think a carbon price is necessary to hit our emissions target. You can encourage House Democrats to finish strong by cosponsoring and passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act (H.R.2820). Additionally, be sure to ask House Democrats to cosponsor and pass the RISEE Act (H.R.9049).
Asks for House Republicans
Ask House Republicans to support American farmers by cosponsoring and passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act (H.R.2820). Additionally, remind House Republicans to cosponsor and pass the RISEE Act (H.R.9049), the FOREST Act (H.R. 5508), and the NCARS Act (H.R.6461)
It’s worth noting that with Republicans possibly taking the House but not the Senate, there is some possibility that permitting reform may come up again in the lame duck session. CCL Research Coordinator Dana Nuccitelli will speak more on permitting reform during the CCL December virtual conference.
Before you get ready to lobby, here is a refresher of where we’re at with our current asks.
Growing Climate Solutions Act
The GCSA passed the Senate 92-8, displaying a remarkable show of bipartisan support for a “Climate Solutions” bill. CCL played a part by supporting the GCSA last year before reintroduction in the 117th Congress. This bill is strategically important because it will connect farmers with climate solutions. This bill is the primary ask for House Republicans and House Democrats. Take note, though, that this bill has opposition from progressive Democrats due to misunderstandings with the bill, so do not mention this bill in those offices.
National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act
The NCARS Act is important because it increases bipartisan support for national climate policies and efforts. Additionally, this bill puts members of Congress on the record for supporting whole-of-government solutions/climate plans. The NCARS Act creates a unified federal approach to climate adaptation and resilience efforts. It also corrects against government agencies and departments operating independently, creating a cohesive and unified approach. Finally, the policy reduces inefficiencies and redundancies. This policy is best for Senate Democrats and Republicans.
Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems Act
The RISEE Act is strategically significant because it helps build the clean energy economy and develop coastal resilience. This bill creates funding streams for coastal infrastructure and resilience efforts for vulnerable communities threatened by sea level rise and coastal erosion. The policy also creates a revenue sharing model for federal offshore wind revenue with states, in addition to amending the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). This bill is best used for Senate Democrats and Republicans.
Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade Act
The FOREST Act taps into Republican enthusiasm for natural climate solutions and wedges that support further open. The FOREST Act prevents goods harvested from illegal deforestation from entering the U.S. This is a bipartisan bill with industry support because it benefits U.S. producers. It’s not expected to move but sets the foundation for a strong reintroduction next Congress. The bill is best for only Republicans right now.
What does this all mean?
As we get closer to December lobbying, there are a few overarching lessons that volunteers need to keep in mind.
- As always, elections matter, and the outcome of this one will determine the framing of CCL’s work moving into the new year.
- Regardless of the results, however, carbon pricing will be a priority within CCL for the next Congress to close the emissions gap.
- Our work right now during the lame duck is crucial for locking in bipartisan climate wins, while building up a steady bipartisan climate record.
This has been the biggest Congress for climate action, and with your hard work, CCL can help make climate history again going into the new year.