Nearly 90 House Democrats sent President Joe Biden a letter Monday urging him to restart talks on his stalled domestic agenda formerly known as Build Back Better — and to use the $555 billion in climate provisions from the House-passed version of the bill as the “building block” for negotiations.
From the letter, first reported by The Washington Post’s Climate 202:
“Given the widespread agreement in the U.S. Senate for House passed climate provisions, we have an opportunity to recommence negotiations with climate serving as a key starting point. … With your support, urging Congressional leaders to move forward with these climate provisions would mark the largest climate investment in our nation’s history, setting the United States on course to meet our 50-52% greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2030, while creating millions of good paying union jobs, reducing energy costs for consumers, advancing environmental justice, investing in climate resilient housing and community infrastructure, and strengthening our economy.
The letter was led by Reps. Sean Casten of Illinois, Jamaal Bowman of New York and Nikema Williams of Georgia. “Bowman and Williams are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, while Casten is a member of the centrist New Democrat Coalition, illustrating the broad popularity of the climate provisions across the caucus,” the Post’s Maxine Joselow noted. She added that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) were among those who noably did not sign the letter.
The bottom line: A spokesperson for Sen. Joe Manchin, who scuttled the House-passed version of the Build Back Better bill and has continued to raise concerns about another large spending package, told the Post that the senator "has said repeatedly there have been no ongoing conversations" about reviving the legislation. “There is no Build Back Better,” Manchin reportedly said last week at an energy industry conference. He added that he has qualms about using the budget reconciliation process Democrats want to use to avoid a Republican filibuster: “The reason I had concerns from day one is that we shouldn't be doing that much policy. Reconciliation was never designed for us to do policy.”