Democrats to push cli­mate curbs in in­fra­struc­ture bill

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS - KEVIN FREK­ING AND MATTHEW DALY

WASH­ING­TON — Demo­cratic lead­ers in Congress de­manded on Fri­day that ma­jor leg­is­la­tion on roads, bridges and other in­fra­struc­ture in­clude ef­forts to curb global warm­ing, com­pli­cat­ing prospects for a deal with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on a jobs-boost­ing bill that both par­ties have tar­geted as a pri­or­ity.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Fri­day in a let­ter to Trump that cli­mate change will cause “un­told hu­man suf­fer­ing and sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the U.S. econ­omy” if left unchecked. Schumer called for per­ma­nent tax cred­its to boost pro­duc­tion of wind and so­lar en­ergy and to make homes and of­fices more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. He also urged loans to com­mu­ni­ties that would in­vest in projects that limit dam­age caused by hur­ri­canes and other nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

The let­ter comes as liberal groups and law­mak­ers —in­clud­ing Demo­cratic Rep.elect Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez of New York— push to en­sure that poli­cies to ad­dress cli­mate change re­main at the top of the Democrats’ leg­isla­tive agenda. Oca­sio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie San­ders of Ver­mont and other pro­gres­sives are call­ing for a “Green New Deal” that would ramp up ef­forts to in­stall so­lar pan­els and wind tur­bines and man­u­fac­ture more elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers from both par­ties have sin­gled out in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment as an is­sue that Repub­li­cans and Democrats could po­ten­tially rally around next year af­ter Democrats as­sume control of the House. But Trump has made it a pri­or­ity to undo his pre­de­ces­sor’s ef­forts to curb global warm­ing, voic­ing con­cerns that they get in the way of a strong econ­omy.

Trump also has re­jected a cen­tral con­clu­sion of a dire re­port on the eco­nomic costs of cli­mate change re­leased by his own ad­min­is­tra­tion. The re­port, is­sued last month, warned that nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are wors­en­ing in the United States be­cause of global warm­ing, with costs ap­proach­ing $400 bil­lion since 2015.

“I don’t be­lieve it,” Trump said.

Law­mak­ers are al­ready ex­pected to strug­gle with the ques­tion of how to pay for an in­fra­struc­ture bill, which is likely to cost hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars even as fed­eral bud­get deficits are ex­pected to soar above $1 tril­lion this year. Us­ing the in­fra­struc­ture bill to ad­dress en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns is ex­pected to add ad­di­tional ten­sions to the mix.

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