Energy & Environment

Democrats blast Biden climate adviser over infrastructure remarks

National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy addresses reporters about new electric vehicle charging initiatives
Greg Nash

Congressional Democrats from the party’s centrist and left wings blasted comments by White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy suggesting the White House was willing to remove climate measures from its infrastructure plan.

In an interview with Politico published Tuesday, McCarthy said that “while every piece like a clean electricity standard may not end [up] in the final version” of an infrastructure package, “we know that it is necessary, we know that the utilities want it, we are going to fight like crazy to make sure that it’s in there. And then we’re going to be open to a range of other investment strategies.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) tweeted in response that a package “that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has been one of the highest-profile congressional backers of the Green New Deal and other ambitious climate policies, responded to Heinrich with a simple, “Yep.”

“[Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for. I know some Dems may disagree with me, but that’s my unpopular opinion of the day,” she added.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) also co-signed Heinrich’s tweet, saying, “I agree wholeheartedly with my friend.”


Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), meanwhile, tweeted that the content of the package was not within the White House’s purview to begin with.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), an ally of Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted that the climate provisions of the bill are “literally a matter of life or death,” adding, “Our plan on climate needs to be built to sustain our planet, not the fossil fuel industry.”

McCarthy herself tweeted that “we need to get this done” in reference to the climate provisions, adding, “That’s why  and let me quote this [Politico] article  ‘the White House [is] fighting to keep every piece’ of the American Jobs Plan and deliver ‘what is necessary to reach its climate target.'”

McCarthy’s comments came the same day the White House announced an end to infrastructure negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

The White House has characterized climate and energy provisions in the package as a major stumbling block in talks with the West Virginia Republican. In a statement Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki specifically said Capito’s counteroffers have not met President Biden’s “objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.”

Reached for comment, the White House referred The Hill to McCarthy’s tweet.
Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Brian Schatz Gina McCarthy Jamaal Bowman Jen Psaki Joe Biden Martin Heinrich Michael Bennet Mitch McConnell Shelley Moore Capito

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