Representatives Blast Republican Budget Cuts for Climate and Clean Energy at CAC Capitol Press Conference

November 2nd, 2023
Image of the U.S. Capitol dome, courtesy of Unsplash

Washington, DC – Several Members of the House of Representatives blasted proposed budget cuts and legislative riders that would undermine clean energy and climate investments at a Capitol Hill press conference today sponsored by the Climate Action Campaign. 

“We are already experiencing the devastating and deadly impacts of climate change, from wildfires to hurricanes and dirty air polluted with soot, arsenic, carbon, and other dangerous substances and paying a huge price with our health, environmental devastation and economic loss,” said Margie Alt, Director of the Climate Action Campaign. “There’s a better way. We need to be investing in climate-smart policies and expanding clean energy. Our message is clear: Now more than ever, don’t cut climate.”

The House already voted 25 times to defund climate and clean energy. It is expected to consider the Interior-Environment appropriations bill this week. That legislation proposes deep cuts to both EPA and DOI, includes language that would prevent the agencies from implementing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, would prevent the agencies from advancing investments provided by last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, and takes special aim at programs that advance environmental justice. 

Below are statements provided by Members of Congress who participated in today’s CAC press conference. 

“Extreme MAGA Republicans are pursuing an anti-environment, anti-clean energy, and anti-job agenda that will increase energy costs on everyday Americans. House Republicans want to take America backwards to an energy policy that rewards polluters, exacerbates the impacts of the heating climate, and opens up the Gulf of Mexico and public lands to oil and gas drilling. Democrats are not going to let that happen. Clean energy is cheaper energy and reducing pollution improves our health and grows the economy.” – Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14)

"I voted for the Inflation Reduction Act because I saw it as a commitment to take action on issues we can’t afford to ignore, whether that’s the rising cost of living or the rising temperatures on our doorsteps. And for too long, disadvantaged communities in Nevada have been on the receiving end of environmental negligence. We can’t stress enough how these projects will directly combat the heat waves affecting us year after year, especially in the 4th Congressional District, creating a more hospitable environment for our kids to play in and our seniors to enjoy. The cuts proposed by House Republicans would directly hurt these efforts, and their riders to slash environmental justice programs put many of our hardest-working communities at the greatest risk to the impacts of air, water, chemical and climate pollution.” – Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04)

“This bill makes clear that we cannot entrust the Republican party to protect our environment for future generations. I will do everything in my power to prevent this disastrous legislation from moving forward and hold Republicans to funding levels that were negotiated as part of the debt ceiling deal less than 6 months ago. Climate change will not wait for Republicans to take this existential threat seriously. It is therefore left up to us to save our planet – for our future and our children’s futures.” – Rep. Mike Quigley, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (IL-05) 

“Congressional Democrats worked diligently to pass the largest federal investment in climate and clean energy in our nation’s history through the Inflation Reduction Act. Now, extreme House Republicans are trying to roll back the progress we have made and undermine key federal entities, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Council on Environmental Quality, needed to take essential action on climate and the environment. As we continue to contend with more severe and more frequent extreme weather events, it is clear we must take decisive action to address the climate crisis and accelerate our transition to a clean-energy future. I am proud to stand alongside my congressional Democratic colleagues in opposition to Republicans’ draconian cuts and in support of communities in Virginia’s Fourth and across the country." – Rep. Jennifer McClellan (VA-04)

“Tonight, House Republicans will take up their aggressively anti-environment and pro-pollution Interior Appropriations bill. As Ranking Member of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and as someone who has been working to mitigate climate change for decades, I cannot stress enough how damaging this bill is. This harmful bill completely debilitates America’s ability to address the climate crisis and hobbles the agencies within its jurisdiction. Ahead of the vote tonight, I will voice my strong opposition to this bill, outlining its extreme cuts and urging my colleagues to protect the world they are leaving to our children and grandchildren.” – Rep. Chellie Pingree, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior & Environment (ME-01)

“House Democrats worked hard with President Biden to deliver the single largest investment in the fight against climate change in history. We will not stand idly by as House Republicans try to rip it all away. For the sake of our collective future, we will do everything we can to prevent these regressive Republican funding bills from becoming law.” – Rep. Gerry Connolly, Chair Emeritus of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (VA-11) 

“House Republicans’ Interior and Environment Appropriations bill has drastic cuts that will protect polluters at the expense of public health and environmental justice. House Democrats and the Biden Administration strongly oppose these cuts. We will continue to put people over polluters by giving EPA and Interior the resources they need to hold polluters accountable, protect our natural resources, and bring clean energy investment to environmental justice communities.” –  Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)

House Appropriations Ranking Member DeLauro’s Prepared Remarks:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this issue.

It is difficult to recall all of the extreme weather events we have witnessed just in the last year. Unprecedented Canadian wildfires turned the sky orange over the East Coast and Midwest. Devastating fires in Hawaii. Flooding in California and Vermont. Horrendous tornadoes across the South and the Great Plains.

The alarm bells are ringing. The climate is changing. And Congress must act.

Unfortunately, the House Republican 2024 Interior bill, on which House floor debate began today, takes the side of the most egregious polluters and climate deniers. This legislation takes an aggressive anti-environment stance, with a crippling 39 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. The ensuing collapse of our means of protecting the environment and public health would mean more asthma cases, more cancer diagnoses, and more unmitigated natural disasters afflicting American families.

The bill cuts the EPA’s Clean Air Program by at least $200 million and eliminates funds for environmental justice. It cuts the EPA’s infrastructure grant programs by a staggering $1.8 billion.

As much as my Republican colleagues may refuse overwhelming evidence, deny scientific consensus, and ignore the catastrophic natural disasters becoming more severe and more common in their districts and across the country, we have no choice but to transform our energy sector to reflect our climate reality.

As I said during debate on the Energy Water bill – the only path that addresses climate change, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and curbs our reliance on foreign energy is to diversify how we produce and store energy.

Wind. Solar. Hydroelectric. Hydrogen and geothermal. When it comes to addressing climate and driving a robust energy sector, our answer to the question “how” must be “everything under the sun.”

I have proudly worked across the aisle to protect our environment for Americans past, present and future, and I am immensely disappointed to see the majority abandon their commitment to conserving America’s fragile lands and natural resources. Republicans are attempting to disarm us in the face of a rapidly changing climate, and we must ensure they are not successful.

Thank you.

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