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Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support $3.5T spending plan

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The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) says it will only endorse Democratic candidates in upcoming election cycles who support the multitrillion-dollar reconciliation spending package that lawmakers are currently negotiating on Capitol Hill.

The group penned a letter to members of Congress notifying them that they will only support candidates who get behind the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, emphasizing the urgency for addressing climate change and contending that the infrastructure package can help the U.S. halve its carbon pollution by 2030.

“Given the severity of the climate crisis and the urgency of addressing it, it is imperative that Congress pass a Build Back Better Act that includes the policies and investments that enable the United States to cut its carbon pollution in half by 2030,” LCV President Gene Karpinski wrote in the letter.

“For only the second time in our history, the League of Conservation Voters’ connected political committee, LCV Action Fund, has decided that we will only consider endorsements for members of Congress in the 2022 election cycle or their next election who support the necessary provisions and a final reconciliation package that achieve this goal,” he added.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are currently engaged in negotiations for a $3.5 trillion infrastructure package that includes a number of climate priorities.

A memo from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that was released with the resolution last month said the climate investments will put the U.S. on the path to hitting 80 percent clean energy and 50 percent economy-wide carbon emission reductions by 2030.

Karpinski said lawmakers have a “once in a generation opportunity” to address climate change by passing the package in the near future.

“As our nation is rocked by devastating storms, floods, heat, fires, and droughts, long-standing environmental and racial injustice, and economic inequality, you have a once in a generation opportunity to act on climate at the scale that science and justice require by passing the Build Back Better Act in the coming weeks,” Karpinski wrote.

“We urge you in the strongest possible terms to seize this historic opportunity to tackle the climate crisis head on and build a more fair and just society,” he added.

Democrats are currently embroiled in an internal fight on Capitol Hill regarding the reconciliation package and a separate, bipartisan infrastructure package the Senate passed last month.

Leadership had vowed to pass the two pieces of legislation together, but a handful of moderate Democrats are now threatening to tank the reconciliation package if the bipartisan package is not passed first.

The LCV first set parameters on endorsements in 2009 when it urged House members to back climate legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system restricting the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted throughout the country, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the letter.

The fund made its first endorsements in June, throwing its support behind nine incumbent Democratic senators: Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Alex Padilla (Calif.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), according to Roll Call.

Tags Alex Padilla Brian Schatz Catherine Cortez Masto Chuck Schumer Conservation Environment League of Conservation Voters Maggie Hassan Michael Bennet Patty Murray Raphael Warnock Reconciliation Ron Wyden Tammy Duckworth

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