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Voters Back Biden's Infrastructure Package, Which Includes Climate Provisions.
Joe Biden

Voters Back Biden's Infrastructure Package, Which Includes Climate Provisions.

According to a new poll, a majority of American voters support President Joe Biden's historic infrastructure and job plan, which includes billions of dollars earmarked to combat climate change and boost renewable energy.

The survey, conducted by the environmental organization Climate Power and the think tank Data for Progress, comes at a time when Washington is embroiled in a contentious debate over infrastructure spending.

Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, unveiled in March, called for massive federal investments in green energy and electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. However, Republicans have firmly opposed the climate provisions and countered with far more modest proposals, with some arguing that renewable energy and clean water investments do not fit what they have declared to be “real” or “traditional.”

The survey found that 86% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and 23% of Republicans support the American Jobs Plan as it is currently understood. However, after surveyors provided more details about the Biden proposal, such as investments in clean energy and funding to clean up abandoned oil wells and mines, overall support increased from 57% to 65%, with Republicans showing the greatest increase.

“These findings demonstrate that Americans have had enough talk; they want climate action from Congress; the stakes are too high,” said Jason Phelps, a spokesman for Climate Power, in an email to Stardia. “To unleash quality job growth and achieve true environmental justice, Congress must pass the entire American Jobs Plan.”

According to The Washington Post, Climate Power has spent $8 million since Biden's election to promote the potential for clean energy infrastructure investment to create millions of well-paying union jobs.

The poll also found that a large majority of voters are concerned about environmental and economic threats in their own communities, ranging from climate change and extreme weather to pollution and unemployment – all of which are addressed by Biden's proposal.

Furthermore, 61% of respondents believe the federal government should do more to assist state and local governments in building more resilient infrastructure to extreme weather, while 30% believe it should do the same, and only 8% believe it should do less.

The survey, which was conducted between June 15 and 17, included 1,257 likely voters nationwide. Its release coincides not only with ongoing infrastructure negotiations, but also with much of the Western United States experiencing brutally high temperatures and extreme drought conditions, with many states bracing for another devastating wildfire season.

Progressive climate groups have turned on Biden in recent weeks, demanding that he stand firm on climate spending and criticizing him for negotiating with Republicans who want to water down the proposal; a number of Democrats have also indicated that they will not vote for an infrastructure bill that does not include climate funding.

“I cannot support a deal that does not put climate change at the center,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told MSNBC this week.

Meanwhile, several Democrats have stated that they would only consider supporting a pared-down package if there is an absolute guarantee that their other priorities, such as investments to combat climate change and create green union jobs, are included. Biden met Thursday morning with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss their latest $1 trillion infrastructure framework and endorsed it afterward.

“I am not willing to support throwing climate overboard,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a conference call with reporters Thursday, adding that the two bills must be “directly connected” and brought to the floor at the same time.

Following his endorsement of the $1 trillion proposal, Biden told reporters, "If this is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it," which may reassure progressives.

“I'm not just signing the bipartisan bill and then forgetting about the rest of it,” he explained.

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