ICYMI: Congressional Leaders & Climate Advocates Condemned MAGA GOP’s “Default on America” Act

May 24th, 2023

Leaders also urged President Biden to continue to stand strong against extreme Republican demands to undo historic climate and clean energy investments passed in the Inflation Reduction Act

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, May 22, the Climate Action Campaign (CAC), Fossil Free Media, and other partners convened a press call to condemn MAGA Republicans in Congress for continuing to play politics with our economic security by propelling the nation toward default with their “Default on America Act,” all while trying to repeal popular clean energy incentives and fast-tracking dirty energy projects. This call came on the same day that President Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to resume negotiations over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

Speakers, including Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ed Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-07) and Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), urged the president to continue to stand strong against extreme Republican demands to roll back historic climate and clean energy investments passed in the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as include so-called “permitting reform” that puts polluters over people as a part of any deal.

Additionally–one day after the press call–76 leading environmental, environmental justice, and public health groups representing millions of members and supporters from across the country sent a letter to President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and House Minority Leader Jeffries urging them to take the “dirty deal off the negotiating table.” The organizations further stated in their letter, “The policy proposals being offered by Republicans, from so-called ‘permitting reform,’ to repeal of landmark climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Action, to capping funding that allows the Administration to implement core environmental laws, are a recipe for disaster.”

Below are key excerpts from yesterday’s press call:

“They want massive cuts, but they don’t want massive cuts to defense and they don’t want massive cuts for veterans. It’s all going to focus on the agencies that protect us against polluters. Polluting for free is the key to the welfare of the fossil fuel industry and protecting the fossil fuel industry is the key to the welfare of MAGA Republicans. We have to fight this,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“Republican permitting proposals to fast track fossil fuel projects should be off the table during this negotiation. Republicans have taken tax breaks that Donald Trump gave billionaires off the table. Republicans have taken defense spending off the table. We need to make sure that fast tracking of fossil fuel projects is also taken off the table,” said U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

“Our climate, our lands, and our waters are not up for negotiation,” said U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury. “Our families and our environment are not bargaining chips in the crusade to gut spending and environmental laws, especially on behalf of big donors”

“I really urge the White House not to give into this blackmail, and not to cash any of the ransom notes. What is important right now is for us to continue to protect clean air and clean water, and to protect what is essential – the future,” said U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva.

“Fossil fuel special interests and their allies in Congress are trying to boost already outrageous profits by holding our nation’s economy hostage, and demanding that we cut critical investments in people and environmental justice, as well as undermine every effort to address the climate crises that we’ve made through the Inflation Reduction Act. At the same time, the same people continue to attack bedrock environmental protections, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, all in service to making it easier to build their dirty fossil fuel projects. At the end of the day, we cannot let them stop our transition to an equitable, clean and just energy future,” said Dana Johnson, Senior Director of Strategy and Federal Policy Office, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

“The debt ceiling negotiators just use my community and communities all along the MVP route as a bargaining chip, once again, even though we’ve defeated bad deals like this over and over and over again. To me, this really feels like a manufactured crisis on behalf of the fossil fuel industries and the petrochemical industries to strip away the meager protections that we have to participate in the process,” said Russell Chisholm, Managing Director of the Protect Our Water, Heritage Rights (POWHR) Coalition. “To me it just really, ultimately feels like another betrayal of our communities”

Please reach out to Andrew Postal and Cassidy DiPaola if you would like to be connected with a spokesperson for further comment.

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