Energy & Environment

Reconciliation package to include several climate priorities left out of bipartisan framework

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The $3.5 trillion budget proposal being put together by Senate Democrats will include a raft of climate priorities, including a clean electricity standard, clean energy and vehicle tax credits and a civilian climate corps, according to a senior Democratic aide. 

The aide said that overall, the proposed budget resolution for fiscal 2022 will meet the goals of reaching 80 percent clean electricity and cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030. 

Other policies that will be included in the $3.5 trillion proposal include weatherization and electrification of buildings, polluter import fees and the creation of a clean energy accelerator. 

It’s also expected to fund climate smart agriculture, wildfire prevention and forestry as well as federal procurement of clean technologies. It’s not clear how much money would be directed to the climate-specific provisions. 

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to the $3.5 trillion package Tuesday night.

The budget would include instructions for a reconciliation package that would include the climate priorities and a host of other measures. The budgetary rules would allow Democrats to pass the package with just Democratic votes, as the rules prevent the package from being filibustered. But Democrats would not be able to afford a single defection among their members. 

The reconciliation package includes major pieces of President Biden’s climate agenda that aren’t included in a smaller bill that resulted from negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. The Senate is also seeking to pass that bill this summer.

The smaller bipartisan deal left out the clean electricity standards and cut down spending on electric vehicles.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), who has been a leading proponent of a clean electricity standard, also said Wednesday that this provision would be included in the bill and told The Hill she hopes it will include 80 percent clean electricity by 2030.

Biden has called for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and for reaching 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. 

Jordain Carney contributed. 

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