As New Session Begins With Promise of Climate Action, A Review of 2019 Accomplishments
As lawmakers return to Washington this week for the second session of the 116th Congress, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis highlighted the efforts Democrats made during the first session to reduce pollution and protect vulnerable communities from the climate crisis.
"Since taking back the House of Representatives a year ago, Democrats have worked hard to secure important climate wins for the American people, including passing the first major climate bill in a decade," said Rep. Kathy Castor, Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and lead sponsor of the Climate Action Now Act (H.R.9). "This year, we look forward to releasing a bold congressional action plan that will help us solve the climate crisis and create a sustainable future for the next generation. We will continue to work on legislative opportunities to advance climate solutions, because we know we cannot wait. The time for climate action is now."
In 2019, House Democrats held over 120 hearings on the climate crisis, including 16 held by the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Below are some of the highlights from the first session of the 116th Congress (fact sheet):
- House Democrats approved a FY2020 Appropriations bill that will:
- Provide an extra $411 million to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
- Increase funding by $45 million to provide clean, electric buses to transit districts
- Increase EPA funding by $208 million to $9 billion, rejecting President Trump’s proposal for drastic cuts to the agency
- Boost funding for NASA’s Earth Science and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate science research
- Democrats secured meaningful resiliency and clean energy measures for our nation’s Armed Forces through the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will:
- Provide an additional $133 million for improving energy resiliency and conservation in our nation’s military installations
- Boost funding for the U.S. Navy’s energy resilience programs
- Ensure DOD can assess its energy needs, adapt to climate vulnerabilities and invest in resilience
- Democrats also preserved millions of acres of land, wilderness and rivers across every state through the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation Management and Recreation Act, which was signed into law in March and will help wildlife and their habitats withstand climate impacts.
- In the absence of presidential leadership on climate, House Democrats attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) to send a message to the rest of the world: Americans are still fighting for climate solutions--even if the President isn’t.
- House Democrats passed important legislation, including:
- Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9): Prevents the Trump Administration from abandoning the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, requiring the president to present a plan to meet carbon pollution reduction commitments.
- Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941): Prohibits any oil and gas leasing or preleasing off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
- Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act of 2019 (H.R. 205): Permanently extends the moratorium on oil and gas leasing, preleasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019 (H.R.2181): Preserves and prevents further damage to cultural lands for Puebloan and tribal communities.
- Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146): Restores protections to stop the Trump administration’s attempts to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729): Includes multiple bipartisan bills that will protect waterfront industries and fisheries, install living shorelines across the country and improve tribal coastal resilience.
Background: The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is charged with delivering ambitious climate policy recommendations to Congress this spring, in order to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis.
The select committee was authorized by House Resolution 6 on January 9, 2019, and will publish a set of public policy recommendations for congressional climate action by March 31, 2020.