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The Build Back Better saga enters its chopped-meat chapter.
PRESENTED BY OTTO VON BISMARCK’S SALADS WITH MEAT
An expanded and better-edited edition of my discussion of the Jerome Powell hearing from last week’s Hill Heat made it into The Intercept, which is very cool. It’s all thanks to subscribers like you that this story came about.
As a wise man1 once said, “Eating fun’s complete with Salads with Meat.”
“Let the man in the house try his hand at making Salads with Meat his specialty.”
The Build Back Better saga continues, as Kyrsten “Luxury Loaf” Sinema celebrated Martin Luther King Day in fine Arizona tradition by standing bravely athwart attempts to move voting rights legislation forward. The voting rights effort, need to protect our fragile democracy, had been stacked behind the BBB push stalled by Joe Manchin, but now BBB is stacked behind the stalled voting rights push. There are increasing demands by the likes of MLK’s family and Bernie Sanders and others to start forcing votes in the Senate on something, anything, to challenge the ostensibly solid wall of fifty-Republicans-plus-Sinemanchin. So Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is moving the voting-rights bills to their expected defeat-by-filibuster this week, which will set up the BBB fight to begin again.
There’s now a flurry of increasingly public debate among Democratic members of Congress whether any of the many provisions in the BBB social-infrastructure package—from clean-energy tax credits to prescription-drug pricing to universal pre-kindergarten—should be ground up into stand-alone bills in hopes of squeezing something through the Sinemanchin sausage-extruder.
At least one important member—Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)—came out last month calling for BBB’s climate elements to get their own vote: “Major climate and clean energy provisions of the Build Back Better Act have largely been negotiated, scored for ten years and financed. Let’s pass these provisions now. We cannot let this moment pass.”
Understandably, progressive members and activists are skeptical that abandoning solidarity will gain any victories.
“It’s really fraught for climate hawks like me to even suggest we cut all the other stuff and just run with our thing because that has the potential to alienate, create a backlash and maybe even take the climate piece down,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) told Politico’s Josh Siegel. “We have to be smart and inclusive and focus on getting the Senate to deliver as much as they possibly can squeeze through the Manchin threshold.”
“Everything in Build Back Better should be done. Frankly, I'm an advocate for the original $3.5 trillion Build Back Better, which, by the way, is spending $350 billion a year. I mean, heck, that's half of what we spend every year subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. We're sitting here right now having a conversation about inside-the-Beltway politics while the world is on fire,” Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) told the Washington Post’s Maxine Joselow. “Shame on us. Forget about voters in the midterms — who gives a crap? How do we look our kids in the eye?”
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) has placed holds on EPA nominees David Uhlmann, Carlton Waterhouse, Chris Frey and Amanda Howe “over objections to an EPA plan that could shutter part of a coal facility in her home state.” And officials in North Dakota are blocking renewable projects just to keep a money-losing coal plant running.
ExxonMobil is asking the Texas Supreme Court to rule that lawsuits in California against its decades of climate deception are illegal attacks on its free speech, and “to force the California officials to travel to Texas to be questioned by the firm’s lawyers.”
Resources for the Future, a fossil-fuel-financed think tank, estimates that the fossil-fuel industry generates about $138 billion in annual federal, state, and local government revenue, mostly in gasoline taxes, which, FUN FACT, is less than the $145 billion in damages caused by fossil-fueled climate disasters last year.
Congratulations to climate reporter Molly Taft, who has announced her resignation from Earther for the “dream job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” of joining the oil giant Chevron to “proactively tell the story of Chevron through engaging, consumer-first digital content.” Give the U.S. Postal Service $3 Billion to Electrify Its Fleet, You Cowards. BLM has approved the 500 MW Oberon Solar Project southeast of Joshua Tree National Park. Democratic Virginia A.G. Mark Herring has pointed out it would be illegal for Glenn “Mauve Hands” Youngkin to pull the state out of RGGI. Via Primary School, Donna Edwards, the progressive who formerly represented Maryland’s 4th, is looking to run again.
The House of Representatives has a bunch of climate hearings packed in two days: On Wednesday, Natural Resources is marking up coastal resilience and climate adaptation legislation, Science is marking up legislation on abandoned well remediation and nuclear research and Energy & Commerce has a hearing on oil and gas pipeline security. On Thursday, there are hearings on FEMA, the absurd energy impact of cryptocurrency, and the Biden administration’s climate-busting Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will testify before House Ag as well.
Climate Action Today:
5 PM: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
WOTUS Public Hearing
Do definitely share tips with me by replying to this email or hitting me up on Twitter at @climatebrad—my DMs are open.
P.S. Our investigative team has uncovered the shocking news that our sponsor, Otto Von Bismarck’s Salads With Meat, is a front group for John Godfrey Saxe.
Oscar Ferdinand Mayer.