Pro-Climate Senators to Offer Amendments to Budget

Washington, DC – As the Senate continues debating amendments to the proposed budget resolution, and with Republican Senators advocating for amendments that would undermine efforts to protect the environment and public health, a group of pro-climate Senators will offer a series of proposals to push back on those efforts and address the effects of manmade climate change.

The following amendments either have been filed or will be filed:

  • Senator Edward Markey (D-MA):
  1. Deficit neutral reserve fund to promote the repair and replacement of old, leaking natural gas distribution pipelines. Repairing and replacing these old cast iron and bare steel natural gas pipelines will create jobs, save consumers money, protect public health and safety and reduce global warming pollution.
  2. Deficit neutral reserve fund to promote improving the safety of offshore drilling, including increasing the liability cap for offshore oil spills.
  3. Deficit neutral reserve fund to ensure that we protect American consumers and business from price increases or other adverse impacts of large-scale exports of U.S. natural gas.
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
  1. Deficit neutral reserve fund to allow Congress to take aggressive action to cut carbon pollution in order to prevent human-induced climate change. [Note: This amendment was voted on yesterday]
  • Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):
  1. Deficit-neutral reserve fund to respond to the public health impacts of climate change, which are caused by human activity. 
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI):
  1. Deficit neutral reserve fund to support the regulatory work of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. Deficit neutral reserve fund to provide resources to protect and preserve oceans and coasts, including measures that address the harms caused by human-induced climate change such as ocean acidification, sea level rise, warmer ocean temperatures, and shifting fish and shellfish habitats
  • Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI):
  1. Deficit neutral reserve fund to make clear that climate change is real and the US should lead on solutions.

“This budget already sacrifices Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and countless other programs for our seniors and working class families.  We can't allow Republicans to give polluters a pass and sacrifice our environment to benefit their fossil fuel cronies,” said Markey.  “We just had the hottest year on record, and it is time to turn up the political heat on climate deniers in the Senate and to put forward policies that will cut pollution and increase jobs.”

“What the scientific community tells us is that if we do not get our act together, the planet that we're going to be leaving for our kids and grandchildren will be substantially less habitable than the planet that we enjoy,” said Sanders.  “We have a moral responsibility to respond to this crisis and we have to use every tool that we can in our arsenal.”

“This budget does not provide direct support to help communities that are suffering from the growing impacts of climate change,” Senator Boxer said.  “We know climate change and rising temperatures will lead to increased ground level ozone and smog, and air pollutants from wildfires, and more heat-related and flood-related deaths.  We must ensure resources are provided to help prepare for and respond to these dangerous impacts.”

“With leading Republicans such as Senator Cruz continuing to deny the science and ignore the effects of climate change, these amendments will give us an important opportunity to remind our colleagues of the ways in which our home states are being harmed by climate change every day,” Whitehouse said.  “And it will also be an opportunity for Republicans to demonstrate to the American people whether they are ready truly ready to govern and address big issues, or whether they will continue to shirk their governing responsibilities to protect their fossil-fuel friends.”

“Taking action to solve climate change is an opportunity to protect our families from the impacts we are already feeling while also ensuring that our economy stays strong.  That’s why my colleagues and I are going to keep pressing for solutions, keep pressing for action, so we can take control of our future and make the world a better place for our children,” Schatz said.  “This is a fight we will win. We are on the right side of the facts, of history, and of public opinion. ”

For today’s budget vote-a-rama, this initial list of amendments will likely be narrowed down to a smaller package of climate amendments to be voted on.  Other amendments may also be filed later in the day.