Democrats are blowing the best shot they’ve had to pass a climate bill in a decade.
That opportunity lies in the Build Back Better Act, or BBB, a sweeping “soft infrastructure” bill that contains about half a trillion dollars in climate funding. Democrats hoped they could pass the bill via the budget reconciliation process — a Senate procedure that allows the majority party to circumvent minority party opposition and pass legislation that pertains to the budget with 50 votes instead of 60 votes. The bill hit a wall when Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced that he opposes it. With even one member of their caucus opposed, Senate Democrats can’t move forward with Build Back Better or any other major agenda item on President Joe Biden’s long list of presidential priorities.
But Manchin isn’t against all of BBB, only certain parts of it. He hasn’t taken issue with the climate parts of the bill, which Democrats already watered down to appeal to his fossil fuel–friendly tastes. This week, Democratic leadership started thinking seriously about moving forward with BBB by breaking it up in... Read more