Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to push measures to combat climate change through infrastructure legislation, he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
With Democrats set to take control of the House next year, Schumer believes the party will be in a better position to hammer through sustainable infrastructure legislation, which has long been a Democratic priority.
Story Continued Below
President Donald Trump has frequently held out infrastructure as a potential point of bipartisan compromise on major legislation. But when the president offered a $1.5 trillion proposal for improving the nation’s crumbling roads, rail and water systems, Republicans balked at the cost while Democrats feared the measure would come at the expense of blue states and cities.
Trump again expressed support last October for working with Democrats, telling Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” morning show: “They want infrastructure, I want infrastructure.” But with Democrats taking over the House majority, Schumer wrote that his party will be in better position to pair costly infrastructure projects with environmental protections.
“In the 116th Congress, however, Democrats will have an extraordinary opportunity to force action on climate change,” Schumer wrote. “Not only will House Democrats have the power to propose, debate and pass progressive legislation on the subject, but Senate Democrats will have substantial leverage as well. For any legislation to pass the Senate, 60 votes are required.”
The Senate minority leader wrote that he intends to send Trump a letter outlining Democrats’ objectives with new infrastructure legislation, including an emphasis on renewable energy and weather-resilient infrastructure. The senator noted that these proposals were already part of an unsuccessful $1 trillion infrastructure proposal Senate Democrats offered last year.
But Schumer’s op-ed went further, adding more priorities including tax credits for clean energy production and storage, as well as investment in public lands.
“No doubt, a single infrastructure bill alone will not solve our climate problem,” Schumer wrote. “But it is an important and necessary first step to include at least some, if not many, of these ideas. Without them, Trump should not count on Democratic support in the Senate.”