Dems push for #ClimateActionNow

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it evident that he won’t take the climate crisis seriously, leaders in the House of Representatives, on the other hand, unveiled H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act and publically introduced the newly formed Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (check out the committee’s new website here for a list of members and priorities). As Vox reported, the Climate Action Now Act, which aims to keep the United States in the 2015 Paris climate agreement is one of the first 10 bills introduced by the new House majority and will likely come to a vote this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the new bills is “about good-paying green jobs. It’s about advancing our economy and our global pre-eminence in green technology.” The chair of the new select committee, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) also explained that the act would “unleash American ingenuity and innovation to power the future.”

As The Hill explained of H.R. 9:

  • The five-page bill known as the Climate Action Now Act aims to block President Trump from pulling out of the Paris climate agreement reached by the U.S. and other world powers in 2015 under former President Obama.
  • Under the bill, Trump would also have to submit a new plan to Congress outlining how the U.S. will continue to meet the goals established in the Paris agreement.
  • Rep. Kathy Castor on Wednesday said tackling climate change is “a moral obligation” facing Congress, framing the new legislation as just the first step of a much broader Democratic effort to address the global crisis.
  • The bill will be marked up in the various committees of jurisdiction “over the coming weeks,” Castor said, and come to the floor afterward.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, Democrats launched their own Special Committee on the Climate Crisis which will examine how climate change is affecting our country and the world. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) will chair the committee, and its members consist of Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The Senate Special Committee’s duties are to:

  • Prioritize oversight and investigation of the efforts of special interests to foster climate denial
  • Convene meetings and conduct outreach with frontline communities impacted by climate change, as well as experts from the environmental, national security, and finance and economic development communities
  • Hold a series of hearings through 2019 and 2020, including expert witnesses and testimonials

Likewise, you can learn more about the goals of the Special Committee on their brand new site.

Why This Matters: Climate change is the most urgent issue facing our nation and the world and it’s unfathomable that only one party in Congress is willing to hold hearings, propose legislation, and take earnest action to ensure that the United States is prepared for the changes we will experience. Despite the fact that there’s an entire spectrum of Democrats in Congress right now (ranging to those from Trump-won districts to social democrats) those members have been willing to have a discussion about solutions and adaptation measures for the benefit of our nation.

Go Deeper: Check out our exclusive interview with Rep. Kathy Castor from last year where we discussed climate change and what motivates her to act.

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