1. Wide House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds Build Back Better Act event
ANNOTATION: Pelosi pushes climate priority in upcoming bills
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:
"The outside mobilization on all of this is what brought us to this place where we can pass significant legislation to help America meet its emissions goals and to also help us help other countries meet theirs."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:
"We're very blessed to have a president of the United States who understands the science of this, that it is clear the climate crisis is here and it's taking its toll."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:
"The president has made this very special to the to his agenda. He will go to Glasgow and want him to do so with legislation that is passed that helps, again, confirms our commitment to the Paris Accords by honoring our commitment to emission standards."
"The climate crisis is a clear and present danger to American families who are facing brutal heat waves, devastating floods, failed electric grids and historic wildfires. That is why we are fighting so hard for the Build Back Better Act with President Biden. It will make historic investments in clean energy and climate resilience and environmental justice to make America stronger and more resilient. Let me say it again. This is our code red moment. We have to get this right."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi highlights the climate provisions and need for U.S. emissions reductions in the Build Back Better legislation before Congress as the world's nations prepare to gather for a climate summit next month in Glasgow, Scotland.
Pelosi along with fellow Democrats representing congressional panels geared for combating climate crisis said Tuesday, "We can pass significant legislation to help America meet its emissions goals and to also help us help other countries meet theirs."
As President Joe Biden visited one disaster site after another this summer - from California wildfires to hurricane-induced flooding in Louisiana and New York - he said climate change is "everybody's crisis" and America must get serious about the "code red" danger posed by global warming.
Biden and Democrats are pursuing a sweeping $3.5 trillion federal overhaul that includes landmark measures to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in what would be the most consequential environmental policies ever enacted, after years of fits and starts.
Sidelined after the former administration withdrew from the landmark Paris climate accord - the 2015 global effort to confront climate change - the U.S. has returned to the arena, with Biden promising world leaders in April that the U.S. would cut carbon pollution in half by 2030.
Pelosi said, "We're very blessed to have a president of the United States who understands the science of this, that it is clear the climate crisis is here and it's taking its toll."
Pelosi added, "The president has made this very special to the to his agenda. He will go to Glasgow and want him to do so with legislation that is passed that helps, again, confirms our commitment to the Paris Accords by honoring our commitment to emission standards."
But following through on Biden's climate goals depends in large part on passage of the Democratic package, and it will take the White House's heft to close the deal between centrist and progressive lawmakers, including disputes over its climate provisions.
As Democrats rush to finish a package that touches almost all aspects of American life, the proposals related to climate change are proving to be a sticking point, particularly among key centrist lawmakers.
The president was meeting Tuesday with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as Democrats chip away at the package's overall price tag and marshal support. With Republicans in lockstep against the plan, Democrats have few votes to spare as they try to pass it on their own.
Yet, for many Democrats, and voters who elected them - the climate provisions are among the most important elements of the sweeping bill. A poll last month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 83% of Democrats are very concerned about climate change, compared with just 21% of Republicans.
"This is a 'Code Red' moment, but Democrats are answering the call,'' said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida, chairwoman of a special House committee on climate change.
"Our only hope to avoid catastrophe is to act with urgency -- to act now,'' Castor said Tuesday at the Capitol. She called climate change "a clear and present danger to American families who are facing brutal heat waves, devastating floods, failed electric grids and historic wildfires.''
The Democratic plan will make historic investments in clean energy, climate resilience and environmental justice, she said. "We have to get this right.''
Included in the massive legislation is a nationwide clean-electricity program that is intended to eliminate climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035 - catching up to requirements already set in some states.
The proposal would spend billions to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and upgrade the power grid to make it more resilient during hurricanes and other extreme weather events that are increasing and intensifying as a result of climate change.
The measure also would create a New Deal-style Civilian Climate Corps to unleash an army of young people to work in public lands and restoration projects.
The U.S. had 22 climate and weather disasters in 2020 with losses exceeding $1 billion each. Hurricane Ida and other recent disasters are likely to cost tens of billions more.
A slimmer $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the House is set to consider Thursday addresses some of these priorities, with money for climate resiliency, water system upgrades and other provisions.
But progressive Democrats say a far more comprehensive approach is needed if the U.S is to have a chance to achieve Biden's goal of cutting the nation's greenhouse gas emissions in half, leaving both packages at a standstill as talks continue behind the scenes.
Overall, the Biden package aims to provide more than $600 billion to tackle climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions, funded in large part by taxes on corporations, the wealthy and other fees, keeping to Biden's pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year.