Climate policies a key sticking point in social spending negotiations


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As progressive and moderate Democrats continue battle over the final details of a large social spending package, one of the biggest hurdles is finding common ground on climate policies.

Majority Democrats intend to push the final Build Back Better package — whatever it may look like — through Congress without any help from Republicans. Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping moderate Democrats will put the brakes on some of the climate proposals that they argue could do more harm than good.

“We should be concerned,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said.

She says some of the programs would negatively affect not only the “middle- and lower-income families that are very reliant” on the fossil fuel industry, but also the renewable fuel industry.

“The push for electric vehicles is extremely concerning to all of our farmers and those that produce ethanol and biodiesel,” Ernst said.

She says the plan will drive up prices for consumers.

“(It’s) really going to hurt our families,” she said.

But Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said there’s nothing to fear.

“We know as a nation we are moving to more of an electric vehicle fleet, but that’s still decades away; that’s somewhere around the year 2035,” Bustos said.

While the package is under intense negotiations, the Renewable Fuels Association recently praised proposed provisions that would invest nearly $1 billion to improve fuel pump infrastructure.

“Lawmakers from the heartland are doing what we can to make sure this stays a part of any deal going forward,” Bustos said.

Despite resistance from moderates within their party, more progressive Democrats on Wednesday vowed to prioritize renewable energy in the final deal, with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., saying that “climate can’t wait.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants progressive and moderates united behind a framework in the coming days, with the goal of being able to vote by next week.

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