On August 10, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, a $3.5 Trillion budget deal. Just days later, they approved a budget resolution.
Of IPL’s priorities, the bipartisan bill includes:
- Funding to clean up Superfund sites and other legacy pollution, including abandoned mine lands ($21 billion, with $11 billion for abandoned mine lands)
- Investments to improve and expand Amtrak service ($66 billion)
- Some funding for clean drinking water ($63 billion, only $15 billion for lead pipe removal)
- Investments in the development of a 21st century electrical grid ($65 billion)
- Building electric vehicle charging stations ($7.5 billion)
Unfortunately, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill failed to address many other climate issues that will help meet the climate goals our nation needs. Clean energy, replacing lead pipes, wind and solar energy, clean transportation, and investing in resources for disadvantaged communities was not addressed. As we look to the future, we need President Biden and Congress to go bold — so we can spur growth.
- Clean energy: The bipartisan deal includes no meaningful support for wind and solar power. We need the reconciliation package to include an extension and expansion of clean energy tax credits for wind, solar, and electric vehicles, as well as a national Clean Energy Standard that supports truly clean, renewable energy.
- Replacing lead pipes: This deal cuts the total funding for clean water to half of what the President had initially proposed, and only $15 billion for removing lead pipes. This is significantly less than $60 billion the water industry estimates is needed to ensure all communities have lead-free drinking water.
- Clean transportation: The bipartisan deal includes insufficient funding for public transit, rail, electric school buses, and electric vehicle charging.
- Investing with justice: As President Biden promised on the campaign trail, we need to see at least 40% of funds spent in the communities hurt the most by our current polluting economy.
Whether Congress immediately moves a budget reconciliation package that matches the scale of the climate and environmental justice crises we face depends on the actions we take right now. We still need a Climate Bill and the actions we take as faith communities matter now more than ever. We need the budget reconciliation bill to be a Climate Bill that meets this moment, heeds the science, and delivers on climate, justice, and jobs.
If you want to let your Senators and Representative know climate matters are important to you, REGISTER HERE to join PA IPL and Jewish Earth Alliance to learn how to write effective letters to elected officials on August 25, 2021 at 7:00pm. As part of this session, you will write your own letter on a climate issue important to you. You can be part of making a Climate Bill a reality.