Legislation

LEGISLATION

In February 2019, as 100 Democratic freshmen entered the House, the “Green New Deal”, a non-binding proposal to fight climate change (originally promoted by the Sunrise Movement — a coalition of young people), was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. Much has been written about the “Deal” including an early editorial by the New York Times . It did not pass but climate moved to center stage.

After the 2020 election, President Biden and the 117th Congress were sworn in. The House remained in Democratic control (222-211)–with two seats vacant (in Louisiana’s 5th district and New York’s 22nd district). Control of the Senate moved to the Democrats (50-50 with the power to cast the tie breaking vote in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris) in a run-off election in Georgia on January 5, 2021 when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won their Senate races.

In 2021 the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed providing historic resources for upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, replacing lead pipes and delivering clean water. It also helps communities safeguard against extreme weather events, catastrophic wildfires, and other climate-related disasters.

After the 2022 election, the 118th Congress was sworn in. The House flipped back into Republic control (222-212 with one vacancy). Control of the Senate stayed in the hands of the Democrats (50-50) with the power to cast the tie-breaking vote  remaining in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris. 

A big win for climate legislation came when the Biden administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, to date the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history. It offers funding, programs, and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and will likely drive significant deployment of new clean electricity resources. 

In 2023 on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) re-introduced their landmark proposal entitled the “Green New Deal.” The Green New Deal proposes to tackle the climate crisis with a 10-year mobilization that puts millions of Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs. Similar to FDR’s New Deal, these jobs would be focused on strengthening the nation’s public infrastructure as well as tackling pollution and climate damage. This has yet to pass.

Founded in 2016, the Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan United States caucus in the House of Representatives and the Senate whose members are committed to taking action in response to the risks of climate change. This group speaks out and votes as a bloc about climate change issues. This group, made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, has introduced legislation to achieve a carbon tax, but some members have not always stayed committed to their climate goals. They have not, as of yet, succeeded in passing any legislation.

CURRENT NEWS

Why Blue States Matter

By Bill McKibben 04/06/24
First of all, immense thanks to all who wrote with kinds words of congratulation about my new grandchild. I confess, it does seem unlikely that with 8 billion people on the planet I would personally…
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Biden Builds a Domestic Green Army

By The Editorial Board 04/02/24
Who says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has no influence? Her vision to mobilize a government Climate Corps to promote green politics is becoming a reality. President Biden wants to shrink the real Army, but his budget…
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How heavy industries contribute to climate change and what can be done to cut emissions

By William Brangham and Shoshana Dubnow 03/29/24
Electricity and transportation each contribute about a quarter of America’s carbon emissions. Thanks to the growth of renewable energy and electric cars, those sectors are starting to get cleaner. Heavy industry is also a major…
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Whitehouse Bill Would Tighten, Clarify Process of Approving Offshore Wind Projects

By Mary Lhowe 01/10/24
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has released an early draft of a proposed bill that would streamline the process of proposing, permitting, and building offshore wind projects, as well as moving the electricity…
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House Speaker Mike Johnson’s First Big Bill Cuts Biden’s Climate Change Funding

By Ari Natter 10/27/23
The first major legislation House Republicans passed under newly installed Speaker Mike Johnson would cut billions of dollars in consumer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades included in President Joe Biden’s signature climate law...
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New House Speaker Champions Fossil Fuels and Dismisses Climate Concerns

By Lisa Friedman 10/26/23
Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the newly elected House speaker, has questioned climate science, opposed clean energy and received more campaign contributions from oil and gas companies than from any other industry last year.
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Update needed for 1872 mining law to boost clean energy, report says

By Timothy Puko 09/12/23
Because of a 151-year-old U.S. mining law, miners hold claims on federal land for years at little cost, work in secret and frequently submit incomplete plans to environmental regulators, according to a new report Tuesday…
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Young environmental activists prevail in first-of-its-kind climate change trial in Montana

By Amy Beth Hanson and Matthew Brown 08/15/23
Young environmental activists scored what experts described as a ground-breaking legal victory Monday when a Montana judge said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel…
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The U.S. Government Will Pay to Remove Carbon from Atmosphere

By Robinson Meyer 08/04/23
The federal government is preparing to pay companies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, launching a first-of-its-kind program that could transform the market for the nascent climate technology, according to people familiar with…
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A Republican 2024 Climate Strategy: More Drilling, Less Clean Energy

By Lisa Friedman 08/04/23
During a summer of scorching heat that has broken records and forced Americans to confront the reality of climate change, conservatives are laying the groundwork for future Republican administration that would dismantle efforts to slow…
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Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook and Julia Rock 08/03/23
The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as…
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America is heavily reliant on Russia for nuclear fuel. Congress might change that.

By Maxine Joselow 08/03/23
Nearly a year-and-a-half after Russia launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine, Congress appears poised to reduce America’s reliance on Moscow for uranium, the main fuel used by nuclear power plants.
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KEY RESOURCES

Inflation Reduction Act Methane Emissions Charge: In Brief

09/01/22
On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed H.R. 5376 (P.L. 117-169), a budget reconciliation measure commonly referred to as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” (IRA). Among other provisions, IRA includes a charge on methane…

Critical Minerals in Electric Vehicle Batteries

08/29/22
Expected growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales has led to concern about securing mineral inputs used in EV batteries. Various countries and companies have stated policies to accelerate the adoption of EVs in the transportation…

Environmental Justice (EJ) Provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act

08/22/22
This table includes provisions with the potential to provide federal benefits to communities with EJ concerns. Direct benefits, where the statute requires benefits to be implemented in or directed towards low-income, tribal, or overburdened communities,…

Modeling The Inflation Reduction Act Using The Energy Policy Simulator

08/18/22
On July 27, 2022, the United States Senate released legislative text for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes $369 billion in funding for climate and clean energy provisions. These emissions-reducing provisions run the gamut…

U.S. Climate Change Policy

10/28/21
The greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere trap radiant energy, warming earth’s surface and oceans. Scientific assessments conclude that GHGs very likely have been the main driver of warming of the earth’s lower atmosphere since…

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scenarios: Background, Issues, and Policy Relevance

06/08/21
Projecting future climate change, and what drives it, is difficult,with many uncertainties. Computer models, however, can be useful tools for exploring the long-term implications of climate change and evaluating policy options. For example, models can…

Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: Issues for Congress

06/08/21
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment andRestoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” Itcontains directives to update the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG),…

Aji P. v. State of Washington

02/15/21
Our Children’s Trust has supported youth plaintiffs in Washington since 2011, most recently in the youth-led constitutional climate case, Aji P. v. State of Washington. Thirteen youth plaintiffs from across the state of Washington filed…

Tracking the future of US recycling policy in Congress

10/26/20
Spurred by market challenges, the Hill has seen a historic influx of big bills. Keep up on all the latest developments with our legislative tracker.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

02/26/20
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.

House Committee on Energy & Commerce – Accomplishments

01/29/20
The Energy and Commerce Committee is working to strengthen the economy, reduce costs for consumers, combat climate change and conduct robust oversight of the Trump Administration. Here is a look at some of the action the…

Carbon Pricing as a Solution to Climate Change

02/14/20
FCNL believes that carbon pricing is one of many essential tools that Congress should use to address climate change and shift towards a clean energy economy. While we have not endorsed any particular bill at…

Legislation Tracker

09/04/19
Keep track of bills and resolutions as they move through the House and/or the Senate on their way to passage as law.

Climate Change Laws of the World

07/24/19
Search the databases by selecting the legislation or the litigation search and applying your search criteria. You can also click here to access laws and policies on our interactive map.

MORE NEWS

What the Inflation Reduction Act Means for Green Energy and EV Stocks

By Sam Taube   08/16/22  
Despite its name, the Inflation Reduction Act is largely a climate spending bill. The bill, signed by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16, represents the largest climate investment in U.S. history, allocating about $370 billion…
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Climate law may revolutionize US cleantech manufacturing

By Jeff St. John   08/16/22  
The $369 billion in climate and energy funding in the Inflation Reduction Act isn’t just the biggest-ever U.S. investment in combatting climate change. It also promises to deliver for the first time a comprehensive U.S.…
Read more

Biden signs expansive health, climate and tax law

By Jim Tankersley   08/16/22  
President Biden on Tuesday signed a long-awaited bill meant to reduce health costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise taxes on corporations and wealthy investors, capping more than a year of on-again, off-again negotiations and…
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Utility leaders hail clean energy tax incentives as House sends historic climate bill to Biden’s desk

By Ethan Howland   08/15/22  
The bill contains tax, healthcare and climate provisions, including about $369 billion in spending over 10 years on energy and climate measures. In a measure expected to affect some utility companies, the legislation is partly…
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Energy provisions in the inflation reduction act

By Robert Rapier   08/14/22  
Last week Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which now heads to President Biden's desk to be signed into law. The bill has been championed as a "climate change bill", but it also allocates hundreds…
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A detailed picture of what’s in the Democrats’ climate and health bill

By Francesca Paris, Alicia Parlapiano and Others   08/13/22  
Democrats in Congress have had to scale back their legislative ambitions since last year, but the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the House on Friday and sent to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for his…
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Congress OKs Dems’ climate, health bill, a Biden triumph

By Alan Fram   08/13/22  
A divided Congress gave final approval Friday to Democrats’ flagship climate and health care bill, handing President Joe Biden a back-from-the-dead triumph on coveted priorities that the party hopes will bolster their prospects for keeping…
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West Virginia coal country will test power of Democrats’ climate bill

By Jeff Stein   08/13/22  
Travis Elswick used to spend his days detonating millions of tons of explosives, blowing holes in the Appalachian Mountains so miners could reach the coal underneath. Now he’s considering applying for a job at a…
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Not Even a Single Republican Voted for the Climate Bill

By Robinson Meyer   08/13/22  
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the House of Representatives today, is about to become the first comprehensive climate legislation in U.S. history. Compared with Congress’s desultory approach to the issue in the past, the…
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House passes Inflation Reduction Act, sending climate bill to Biden

By Tony Romm   08/12/22  
The successful vote Friday marked the end of a debate that spanned more than a year and a half, at times pitting Democrats against each other over the final major component of the president’s agenda.
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Risk of catastrophic California ‘megaflood’ has doubled

By Louis Sahagun   08/12/22  
Even today, as California struggles with severe drought, global warming has doubled the likelihood that weather conditions will unleash a deluge as devastating as the Great Flood of 1862, according to a UCLA study released…
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House passes sweeping climate, tax and health care package

By Emily Cochrane   08/12/22  
The passage of the bill, which appeared dead just weeks ago, caps a Democratic effort to deliver on major components of President Biden’s agenda.
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WATCH: Democrats pass landmark climate and health bill

By Alan Fram   08/12/22  
A divided Congress gave final approval Friday to Democrats’ flagship climate and health care bill, handing President Joe Biden a back-from-the-dead triumph on coveted priorities that the party hopes will bolster their prospects for keeping…
Read more

Congress approves Democrats’ climate and health bill

By Alan Fram   08/12/22  
A divided Congress gave final approval Friday to Democrats’ flagship climate and health care bill, handing President Biden a back-from-the-dead triumph on coveted priorities that the party hopes will bolster their prospects for keeping their…
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Energy storage wins a long-sought victory with Inflation Reduction Act

By Julian Spector   08/12/22  
The relatively young energy-storage industry will get a proper seat at the clean energy policy table thanks to the Democrats’ climate bill, which passed both the House and Senate this week. The U.S. conducts federal…
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The Inflation Reduction Act could revive solar manufacturing in the US

By Eric Wesoff   08/12/22  
Now that the Democrats’ major climate and tax bill has been passed, the United States might actually end up with an effective industrial policy for the clean energy and electrification sectors. The Inflation Reduction Act…
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House passes sweeping climate and health care bill, sending it to Biden’s desk

By Sahil Kapur   08/12/22  
The House passed a far-reaching Democratic bill Friday to combat climate change, extend health care coverage and raise taxes on corporations, voting along party lines to send the legislation to President Joe Biden for his…
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House passes Democrats’ health care and climate bill, clearing measure for Biden’s signature

By Clare Foran and Others   08/12/22  
The House of Representatives voted Friday to pass Democrats' $750 billion health care, energy and climate bill, in a significant victory for President Joe Biden and his party. The final vote was 220-207, along party…
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The new climate law will help clean up air travel

By Maria Gallucci   08/12/22  
As aviation companies develop the first hydrogen-powered jets and electric regional aircraft, a more immediate way to curb the industry’s climate pollution is to burn ​“sustainable aviation fuel.” Made from waste materials such as used…
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House passes Inflation Reduction Act, sending climate and health bill to Biden

By Tony Romm   08/12/22  
House Democrats on Friday approved a sprawling bill to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, sending to President Biden the long-delayed, last component…
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What Experts Say About How Valuable The Inflation Reduction Act’s Green Subsidies Will Be

By Emily Barone   08/12/22  
major goal of the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark climate legislation that passed the Senate this week, and is poised to pass the House on Friday, is to incentivize more individuals to electrify their lives.…
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The Inflation Reduction Act Is About to Jumpstart U.S. Climate Policy and Change the World

By Justin Worland   08/12/22  
In July, a pair of Senators gathered reporters in the U.S. Capitol Building to deliver a message to President Joe Biden: it’s time to declare a climate emergency. It was, to be sure, something of…
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How the New Climate Bill Would Reduce Emissions

By Nadja Popovich and Others   08/12/22  
A major climate and energy package passed by Congress on Friday would put the United States much closer to its goal of cutting global warming pollution in half by 2030, several independent analyses have concluded.
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For Electric Vehicle Makers, Winners and Losers in Climate Bill

By Jack Ewing   08/12/22  
The climate and energy package approved by Congress on Friday aims to achieve two goals that are not always compatible: Make electric vehicles more affordable while freezing China out of the supply chain. Auto industry…
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Renewable Energy, Electrification Big Winners in Inflation Reduction Act

By Darrell Proctor   08/12/22  
The U.S. House on Aug. 12 passed a bill with major implications for the power generation industry, joining the U.S. Senate in supporting the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The bill, which now heads to President…
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The climate bill will make cleaner energy cheaper for everyone.

By German Lopez   08/12/22  
By the end of today, Congress will likely have passed the biggest climate bill in U.S. history. This newsletter has already covered the bill’s main goals and the back story of how it came together.…
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Climate change’s impact intensifies as U.S. prepares to take action

By Chris Mooney and Others   08/11/22  
For residents of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the United States’ recent success in clinching a major piece of climate change legislation may feel like too little, too late. Over the past 40 years, as…
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Sweeping climate bill will push American energy to go green

By Seth Borenstein and Others   08/11/22  
After decades of inaction in the face of escalating natural disasters and sustained global warming, Congress hopes to make clean energy so cheap in all aspects of life that it’s nearly irresistible. The House is…
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The long road to the climate bill

By Andrew Freedman   08/11/22  
The Democrats' climate bill that the House is expected to take up Friday follows decades of legislative failure on climate change — which could end because of a change in strategy and changing circumstances. Why…
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Climate bill could revolutionize US cleantech manufacturing. Here’s how

By Jeff St. John   08/11/22  
The $369 billion in climate and energy funding in the Inflation Reduction Act isn’t just the biggest-ever U.S. investment in combatting climate change. It also promises to deliver for the first time a comprehensive U.S.…
Read more

The Climate Bill Isn’t Perfect, but It’s Still a Major Victory

By Jody Freeman   08/11/22  
This essay has been updated to reflect news developments. In an ideal world, the climate provisions approved by Congress this week as part of the Inflation Reduction Act would directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and…
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Green-ifying your home is about to get lots cheaper

By Alex Fitzpatrick   08/11/22  
Homeowners interested in adding rooftop solar panels, installing heat pumps and otherwise green-ifying their houses have plenty to like in the big climate, health and tax package likely to pass Congress in the coming days.…
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The cost of climate action

By Quill Robinson   08/11/22  
Climate change is often described as a “wicked problem.” That’s because there is no simple, or easy, solution. As Democrats and environmental activists celebrate the Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, they should be…
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Bill to Speed Energy Infrastructure Faces Resistance

By Timothy Puko   08/11/22  
Legislation to speed the approval process for energy infrastructure projects is facing political headwinds, including from Republicans who are skeptical of assurances it will help the fossil-fuel industry and don’t like how it was tied…
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A victory at whose expense? Climate activists grapple with political compromise.

By Sarah Kaplan   08/10/22  
This is the moment climate activists had been working toward. After years of protests and political fights, Congress is poised to pass its largest-ever climate bill: a record $369 billion that will be invested in…
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Conceding to Manchin, U.S. climate bill exempts most oil industry from methane fees

By Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom   08/10/22  
The U.S. Senate climate bill’s fee on oil and gas industry methane emissions will cover less than half the sector’s releases of the powerful greenhouse gas, thanks to concessions made to win over party holdout…
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Biden finally has a climate bill. What happens next?

By Dino Grandoni   08/10/22  
For 18 months, President Biden’s climate agenda was in limbo. The White House and Senate Democrats were in bumpy negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), talks that often seemed like they’d go nowhere (and,…
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Democrats’ climate bill won’t grant tax credits to electric vehicles that source materials from China. That’s all EVs.

By Eamon Barrett   08/10/22  
On Sunday, the Democrats’s climate bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the Senate after an all-night “vote-a-rama” to include or reject amendments. The bill unlocks over $300 billion in spending on green energy and…
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5 ways the Inflation Reduction Act would fight climate change

By Denise Chow   08/09/22  
More clean energy, less dirty energy, new punishments for methane leaks and billions of dollars for communities most in need of climate-related help — those are the provisions that have environmentalists celebrating what they see…
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Fighting inflation with climate action

By Manuela Andreoni   08/09/22  
Democrats this weekend muscled through what would be the biggest expenditure ever by the United States to slow global warming, but you wouldn’t necessarily know from the name of the measure that it had anything…
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The Field Report: What the Historic Climate Bill Means for Farmers and the Food System

By Lisa Held   08/09/22  
On Sunday, after a marathon session that spanned the weekend, Democrats in the U.S. Senate passed the country’s most significant climate bill to date. While lawmakers made controversial concessions that will expand oil and gas…
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Inflation Reduction Act Commits Just $47 Billion to Environmental Justice, Activists Say

By Kristoffer Tigue   08/09/22  
Senate Democrats could be “overcounting” the funding for environmental justice provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act and misrepresenting the bill’s benefits for low-income families, communities of color and other historically disadvantaged Americans, according to a…
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Why the climate bill’s Senate passage matters

By Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman   08/08/22  
Congress is poised to pass the most important climate bill in U.S. history, the first step in a years-long effort to transform the measure into a massive, real-world expansion of clean energy.
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After passage of climate bill, long road awaits

By Steven Mufson   08/08/22  
Sales of electric vehicles are skyrocketing and recently hit record highs, according to Cox Automotive. General Motors, which lost access to the old U.S. tax credit for electric vehicles three years ago, has sold 70,000…
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How Manchin kneecapped the climate bill’s EV tax credit

By Jael Holzman   08/08/22  
Democrats have been jubilant about their budget reconciliation bill nearing final passage, but the auto industry is starting to worry the climate spending legislation might actually slow the nation’s switch away from gas-powered cars. During…
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Experts: Senate-passed bill will yield myriad climate benefits

By Dana Nuccitelli   08/08/22  
The bill, headed to the House of Representatives within days, includes by far the largest and most consequential measures to reduce domestic climate pollution in the nation’s history, with a $386 billion clean energy investment,…
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Senate passes climate and tax bill after marathon debate

08/08/22  
Despite all Republicans being opposed, the vote was a major victory for President Biden and Democrats. The bill now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass by the end of the week.
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What’s in the climate, tax and health care package

By Emily Cochrane and Lisa Friedman   08/07/22  
After months of painstaking negotiations, Democrats are set to push through a climate, tax and health care package that would salvage key elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda.
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Why it took Congress so long to act on climate

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman   08/07/22  
The Senate bill avoided the political pitfalls of past legislative attempts by offering only incentives to cut climate pollution, not taxes.
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Senate inches toward passage of Inflation Reduction Act

By Tony Romm   08/07/22  
Throughout the night, Democrats fought to repel GOP amendments to the landmark package. A final vote is expected as soon as Sunday.
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