Energy & Environment

Senate Democrat ‘very anxious’ about climate legislation: ‘I sense trouble’

Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Monday expressed concern about the possibility of future climate legislation, particularly flagging issues about climate in infrastructure negotiations. 

In a tweet thread, the senator said, “I’m now officially very anxious about climate legislation. I’ll admit I’m sensitive from the Obama climate abandonment, but I sense trouble.”

He added that “climate has fallen out of the infrastructure discussion, as it took its bipartisanship detour” and said he doesn’t “see the preparatory work for a close Senate climate vote taking place in the administration.”

A spokesperson for the senator declined to elaborate, while a spokesperson for the White House disputed this characterization. 

The Rhode Island Democrat alleged that corporate America is “completely AWOL if not worse” on climate in Congress and cited bickering between groups. 

His comments come as bipartisan negotiations continue. Following meetings between President Biden and Republican negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement saying the senator’s proposal did not go far enough on climate. 

On Monday, Psaki named electric vehicles as one area where Biden hopes to accomplish major investments. 

Whitehouse’s comments also come as progressives seek to push Biden to rethink his bipartisan strategy. 

His thread also appeared to strike a different tone from just a few days prior, when he expressed optimism that lawmakers would make progress on carbon pricing. 

Last year, lawmakers were able to achieve a major piece of climate legislation after reaching a bipartisan deal to phase out the use of planet-warming greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons. 

Tags climate agenda Climate change Jen Psaki Joe Biden Senate Sheldon Whitehouse Shelley Moore Capito White House

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