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Chuck, Chuck, the staff is revolting!
"You can say that again"
PRESENTED BY THE WIZARD OF DIDN’T
This is the last work week for Congress before recessing until September 6th, with no serious climate legislation having passed under unified Democratic leadership, and the youth are revolting. Young Congressional staffers protested today in the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Several staffers were arrested by Capitol Police after refusing to leave, including Saul Levin from the office of Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Raj Sicora (Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.), Aria Kovalovich and Emma Preston (Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.), and Philip Bennett (Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.).1
“Guess Chuck really didn’t want to talk about climate today,” one of the staffers remarked.
Over the weekend, climate activists held peaceful protests in front of President Joe Biden’s beach house in Delaware and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s house in Silver Spring, calling for a presidential declaration of climate emergency.
And this Thursday, activists are organizing to disrupt the Congressional Baseball Game, a bipartisan corporate love-fest sponsored by oil giants BP and Chevron, coal-and-gas-powered utility CMS Energy, and corporate lobbying groups that have killed climate action for decades like the Edison Electric Institute and the American Farm Bureau.
Unlike Congress, the Hothouse Summer isn’t taking any time off: The fury of the Oak Fire in Yosemite National Park is unsurprisingly “unprecedented.” More than a month of fossil-fueled monsoon rains and floods have now killed over 300 people in Pakistan, causing anger about climate inaction to rise. Flash floods following extreme drought swept at least 21 people to their deaths in the southern Fars province of Iran. In Germany, the Rhine is dropping so low that the shipping of freight may have to be stopped. And extraordinary levels of heat are building all over China, threatening everything from catastrophic power outages to glacial-melt floods.
So what is Congress planning to accomplish this week?
The big legislative push is for the $280 billion CHIPS Act, a scientific research and manufacturing-subsidy bonanza that has largely been negotiated by corporate lobbyists. The House version passed in February, the America COMPETES Act, had major climate provisions and labor protections that have been stripped out of the Senate version. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is opposed to the Senate bill, which also lacks safeguards against corporate windfall profits. With Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) out with COVID, and the bill needing both Senate and House approval, passage before the recess will be difficult. But a lot of very well-paid lobbyists will be working hard to get the work done!
Other legislation up for a floor vote this week includes several small bills of climate interest:
H.R. 7569 – Energy Cybersecurity University Leadership Act of 2022 (Rep. Deborah Ross, D-N.C.)
H.R. 7289 – Federal PFAS Research Evaluation Act (Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas)
H.R. 3952 – NOAA Chief Scientist Act (Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J.)
H.R. 7361 – National Weather Service Communications Improvement Act (Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa), to privatize the NWS communications system
H.R. 6528 – Housing Temperature Safety Act of 2022 (Rep. Richie Torres, D-N.Y.)
H.R. 5118 – Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo.)
H.R. 7283 – STREAM Act (Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.), to allow coal mine reclamation funds in the infrastructure act be used for stream cleanup
Congress is moving forward on committee business. On the nominations front, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) will convene the Senate Environment and Public Works committee on Wednesday to take the postponed vote on Joe Goffman for EPA air pollution chief and Annie Caputo and Bradley Crowell for the NRC. On Thursday, energy efficiency expert Brendan Owens has his confirmation hearing to become Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment, overseeing energy planning for DOD’s $1-trillion-scale global network of military facilities.
After the Wednesday nominations vote, Carper holds an all-white-male-panel on carbon capture technology, almost the manliest of climate solutions.2 Jose Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Andy Baukol, Treasury’s acting Under Secretary for International Affairs, and Enoh Ebong, director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, will testify before Senate Foreign Relations on “ensuring U.S. global leadership for the twenty-first century.” House Foreign Relations chair Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) has U.S. Agency for International Development officials Sarah Charles and Maura Barry for a hearing on global food security, as their boss, Administrator Samantha Power, travels this week to drought-stricken Somalia and then to India to try to help address the crisis. In the afternoon, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) chairs a hearing on the administration’s budget request for Africa.
On Thursday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) chairs a hearing on preventing polluters from getting government contracts. Our friend Manchin has a legislative hearing on a passel of bills that include expediting liquified natural gas projects, processing uranium, improving weatherization assistance, and supporting carbon capture. And Rep. Khanna chairs a hearing on how leaded aviation fuel continues to poison our communities.
JERBS: The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network seeking a part-time research and policy associate (20hrs/week, $22K, remote). The clean-tech association Advanced Energy Economy is looking for a policy principal ($75K, Midwest). The Environment and Human Rights Program of Human Rights Watch seeks candidates for the role of climate displacement researcher (six-month contract, no salary given, remote). Satellite company Maxar Technologies is hiring a product manager for climate and environmental products. Heinz Endowments is searching for its next president (about $800K, Pittsburgh). And the United Nations is on the hunt for its next executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Climate Action Today:
5 PM: Evergreen Action
What’s Next? How Biden Can Act on Climate
Reps. Bush and Omar were among the 17 members of Congress arrested last week by Capitol Police for blocking traffic in front of the Supreme Court in protest of the Dobbs decision.
Not quite as manly as blocking out the sun by stratospheric sulfur injection.