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Senate Democrats push climate change bond bill

Senate Democrats push climate change bond bill
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Two Senate Democrats have introduced a bill to create a new climate change adaptation fund to be paid for through new federal bonds.

The bond program — from Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status MORE (D-Calif.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave MORE (D-Ill.) — would provide up to $200 million annually for a Commerce Department grant program to fund climate change adaptation work around the country.   

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Introducing the bill on Wednesday, Boxer and Durbin compared the climate change bond program to the war bonds sold by the federal government during the World Wars.

Boxer said the bonds would let Americans literally buy into federal climate change work. 

“It gives the American people the chance to adapt to what is coming while we fight to reduce the ravages,” she said at a press conference. “We already see the ravages have started.”

The fund would tap an expert committee — made up of bipartisan appointments — to vet projects designed to adapt to climate change, focusing on everything from droughts to flooding to severe weather events. 

Local and state governments would be asked to kick in 25 percent of the cost of their projects in order to receive grants from the fund. 

The bill is unlikely to find much support in the GOP-controlled Senate. But Boxer, who is retiring from Congress, said she wants to put this in motion now, and Durbin volunteered to take up the mantel when Boxer is gone. 

“I hope, if we can’t pass this this year, I can take up the flag and carry it in her name in years to come so when we talk about finally passing this, it will be known as Barbara Boxer’s legacy,” he said.

—This post was updated at 11:50 a.m.