A day after President Joe Biden
endorsed a deal
that scales back his signature infrastructure
package in an attempt to gain Republican support in the Senate
, one of his top environmental allies is planning a rally in support of tougher climate legislation.
The League of Conservation Voters
announced on Friday that it will spend $8 million to send more than 100 staffers to eight states
in the hopes of rallying support for a more aggressive federal program to pay for climate upgrades and clean energy
, marking the organization's largest field campaign in a non-election year.
The nonprofit, which campaigned hard for Biden in 2020, plans to canvass voters and businesses in 15 congressional districts across Arizona
, New Hampshire
, New Jersey
, and Virginia, targeting lawmakers such as Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Elaine Luria (D-VA), as well as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
“This field effort is about ensuring that members of Congress see, feel, and understand their constituents’ desire for significant action on climate change
,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters.
While conservative Sen. Joe Manchin
(D-W.Va.) is widely regarded as one of the biggest obstacles to Democrats voting
in lockstep and using their narrow majority to pass legislation, the League of Conservation Voters does not have an active chapter in West Virginia
The bipartisan package that Biden endorsed Thursday is worth about $1.2 trillion over eight years and includes $579 billion in new federal spending on narrowly defined projects such as roads, bridges, airports, and waterways. It was negotiated by five Republicans
and five Democrats, and it now has the support of 20 senators, but it falls far short of the 60 votes
needed to overcome a filibuster
groups slammed the proposal on Thursday, saying it has “yet to see real action” on climate from Biden and Congress. The Sierra Club demanded that Congress pass a “bold infrastructure package that addresses the climate crisis
any bipartisan deal.” The Sunrise Movement
said Democrats were “condemning Americans to untold devastation” by agreeing to water down the package.
“This bipartisan proposal is not the climate bill, and no one should pretend otherwise,” said Jamal Raad, executive director of the climate group Evergreen Action, in a statement. “The bipartisan framework comes nowhere near the scale and scope of investments that we need to meet the climate crisis. Climate leaders in Congress should reject this deal unless it is accompanied by a reconciliation bill.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) told Stardia on Thursday that the agreement is only one half of a total package Democrats plan to pass through budget
reconciliation, a process that allows them to avoid the filibuster and pass legislation with only the party's 51-vote majority. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) said Thursday afternoon that she would wait until the Senate passed both halves of the agreement.
According to a survey conducted last week by the environmental group Climate Power and the think tank Data for Progress, 86% of Democrats, 55% of independents, and 23% of Republicans support the original $2 trillion package proposed by Biden, as they understood it. When given more details about the proposal's funding for renewable energy and environmental cleanup, overall support increased from 57% to 65%.
Meanwhile, canvassers from the League of Conservation Voters intend to begin distributing “Climate Action Now!” materials to local cafes and restaurants
frequented by congressional staffers.
“We’re thinking about how to have the most visible presence,” Jennessa Agnew, the group’s field director, said. “That includes thinking about where people
are congregating in these districts, and how we can ensure congressional staff sees this support for bold climate action.”