As Congress trims Build Back Better, climate remains at the forefront

As Congress trims Build Back Better, climate remains at the forefront


Our legislative staffers help CCL volunteers understand the latest developments in Congress and with climate legislation. Read or watch their latest update here, and visit the forums on CCL Community to ask any questions you may have.




Hello everyone. For those of you who I haven’t met before, my name is Jenn Tyler. I joined CCL last August as Director of Government Affairs after nearly eight years in the House of Representatives. I loved working with CCL when I was in the House and I’m so excited to now be a part of the CCL family

Now let’s get to our favorite (or least favorite) topic, depending on the day: Congress. 

We’re in a new year. Congress has a lengthy to-do list as always, but it’s being complicated now by increasing remote work due to COVID and the fact that we’re in a campaign year heading towards the midterm elections. 

But most importantly to us, Congress is continuing to work on Build Back Better, which as we all know, is the reconciliation bill. Last week, I’m sure many of you saw that President Biden held a press conference where he stated that the pathway forward on Build Back Better would likely have to be through a trimmed-down package. He also indicated what we’ve heard from countless senators, including Senator Manchin himself: that the climate and energy provisions are some of the easiest to reach consensus on and thus should be the centerpiece of the slimmer bill.

Now there’s still a lot left to be decided by the Senate and the White House, including what would the trimmed-down package actually look like? How are they going to reach 51 votes? A lot is still uncertain, but the one thing that is very clear is that the climate provisions are at the top of the list. 

I know at this point many of us are struggling to find any excitement or motivation, given the months and months and months that this has dragged on. And while we still have at least a couple of months to go, this is an important moment and a significant victory for CCL.

While many key Democratic priorities are facing the chopping block altogether, there’s consensus that meaningful climate and environmental investments must stay. That’s a big deal. I’m not sure many people outside of this group would have thought it was possible even a year ago for climate change policy to be the top legislative priority for Democrats in their largest legislative effort.

The fact that climate change provisions have not only remained on the table but have risen to be the centerpiece of reconciliation is in large part due to the countless calls and emails you all have sent. 

Your voices are being heard. We need to keep it up. While we do definitely still face an uphill battle, a climate-centric reconciliation package provides a new opening for a price on carbon.

The majority of other climate provisions being considered have significant price tags of hundreds of billions of dollars. A price on carbon is one of the only climate policies that would generate revenue instead of spending it, and help pay for the package. That’s a tremendous selling point that’s unique to our policy. So we need to capitalize on the new edge that carbon pricing has within a trimmed-down package by continuing to let the White House and Senate Democrats know that they must take action on climate change now, and they should do so by pricing carbon.

So please continue to use the action tools online at to make sure your voice is heard, and most importantly, pace yourselves, don’t lose sight of the progress you’ve already made, and keep up the great work.

Katie Zakrzewski, CCL Communications Coordinator, is an avid reader, writer and policy wonk. With published pieces, as well as podcast and radio appearances spanning the country, Zakrzewski looks forward to using her talents to create a healthier planet of tomorrow.