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[WATCH] Surprise Deal That ‘Stunned’ Lawmakers Will Be Most Ambitious U.S. Climate Action Ever Taken

[WATCH] Surprise Deal That ‘Stunned’ Lawmakers Will Be Most Ambitious U.S. Climate Action Ever Taken

The unexpected deal reached by Senate Democrats on Wednesday would be the most ambitious action ever taken by the United States to address global warming and could help President Joe Biden come close to meeting his pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, experts said Thursday, as they sifted through a massive bill that revives action on climate change weeks after the legislation appeared dead.

The deal “stunned” lawmakers and activists who had given up hope that legislation could be enacted after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democratic centrist who has historically sided with the other side of the aisle, said he could not support the measure because of inflation concerns.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
The deal announced late Wednesday includes a long-term extension of clean energy tax credits that “could plausibly put the U.S. on track to reduce emissions by 40% in 2030.

President Biden called the bill “historic” and urged quick passage. But approval of the bill is far from certain in a 50-50 Senate where support from every Democrat will be needed to overcome unanimous Republican opposition. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) who forced changes in earlier versions of the plan, declined to reveal her stance Thursday.

After Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) briefed Democratic senators on the 725-page measure, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said lawmakers’ reaction has been “uniformly positive.” And Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) suggested they could back the measure even though it lacks higher federal tax deductions for state and local taxes that they’ve championed in the past.

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“We’re taking a giant step forward as a nation,” President Biden said at the White House. In a message to lawmakers, he called it a compromise that was “the strongest bill you can pass” to address health care, climate, energy, and families’ living costs. “Pass it, pass it for the American people.”

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