Huffman Statement on Next Steps for Build Back Better Legislative Package

August 24, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted for a rule to begin debate and schedule votes on the Senate’s recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and on the comprehensive Build Back Better Act which the House will complete in the days ahead. Huffman issued the following statement on the legislation:

“In response to increasingly dire climate alarms, our nation must stop hitting the snooze button. We are running out of time to change course, decarbonize our economy, and preserve a livable planet. The opportunity to pass a transformative infrastructure package is, I believe, one of our last, best chances to meet the moral, economic, environmental, and existential imperative of the climate crisis. Therefore, the threshold question in deciding how I will vote in the weeks ahead is whether the legislative package does that.

“The Senate’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, if it was a standalone measure, would fail that test because it does not meaningfully reduce carbon pollution. It does include some overdue steps toward rebuilding the nation’s traditional infrastructure and expanding broadband service, and it makes modest investments in transit and grid expansion. But the bill lacks serious policies and investments to decarbonize the electricity and transportation sectors. Moreover, some of its provisions would make our climate problems worse – including subsidizing a huge new liquefied natural gas project, promoting hydrogen produced with fossil fuels, exempting certain natural gas infrastructure from environmental review, funding new pipelines and other facilities to enhance fossil fuel production, and more. At a time when the climate crisis demands bold action to put our nation on the path to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050, this Senate bill largely embraces fossil fuel business as usual.

“Meanwhile, floods, heat waves, droughts, and forest fires in the United States and around the world are providing frighteningly strong previews of the full-scale climate catastrophe that awaits unless we summon the political will to transition away from fossil fuels and embark on a focused, urgent, economy-wide effort to cut carbon emissions, including from electricity generation, transportation, buildings, and industry. Failing to do so will consign this country and the world to a dystopic future, where ever-increasing amounts of money and time are spent trying to mitigate tragedy and mopping up after natural disasters. 

“Since we are being told that the House cannot amend any part of the Senate bill, that leaves the Build Back Better Act as the only avenue for seriously tackling the climate crisis in this Congress. In the days ahead I will continue working with House and Senate colleagues to ensure that the clean energy, transportation, and climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act are sufficient to outweigh the shortcomings and problems in the Senate bill.

“The good news is that the technology and economics required to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels are lining up, and the American people support bold climate action. National policy is lagging, but we have an opportunity before us – if we summon the political will – to change that. Make no mistake: this is a defining moment for our country, our children, and the livability of our planet. I will only support a final deal that meets that moment.”