'Clock is ticking': Democrats push for climate reforms

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats are scrambling to lock in President Joe Biden’s climate goals before Republicans seize control of the House.

The timeline for reaching those goals may be in jeopardy. A bill that would ensure the president’s carbon emissions target — by speeding up clean energy projects created in Biden’s newly signed climate package and ensuring carbon emissions are cut in half by the end of the decade — hangs in the balance.

“The president believes we must pass the Permitting Reform Bill, so that the U.S. can realize the benefits of the historic investments,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Republicans overwhelmingly support speeding up federal projects, but have other goals in mind. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said the focus should be projects that make the U.S. energy independent.

“For me this about opening up oil drilling, opening up natural gas exploration,” Hawley said. “We’ll put our own workers back to work … and get the cost of gas down”

Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Nexstar he would rather wait until the next Congress, when Republicans control the House, to tackle the issue.

“I think we’d do much stronger in the majority than sitting in the minority,” McCarthy said.

With time running out to strike a deal, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is now pushing a compromise plan from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“I hope they’ll help us,” Schumer said.

That compromise was previously rejected by both sides.

On Wednesday, Democrats on the House Climate Crisis Select Committee said they will reject any reforms that move the environment backwards.

“The clock is ticking,” Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said.

“It is urgent but we have some time to ensure that we can do it and do it correctly,” Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., said.

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