Prospects for establishment of a "climate resilience fund" as proposed by President Obama this week in his 2015 budget will depend heavily on how it is described on Capitol Hill.
"If this is tied to the magic words 'climate change,' you'll see people start running back to their partisan corners," said Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a Democratic member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force. "But if we talk about making communities better prepared to deal with severe weather, there is an opportunity there to get bipartisan support."
The fund would dole out grants and technical assistance to state and local governments to shore up infrastructure and increase adaptation to climate change.
It would also set aside federal dollars for climate research, including sea-level rise analysis, and disaster relief. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would be given $400 million for "hazard-mitigation and preparedness-assistance efforts," according to a White House blog post.
Federal funding to advance climate science will be a hard sell with conservatives. But Democrats are hopeful that resilience planning and emergency response could win support on both sides of the aisle.
"Democrats and Republicans recognize the realities of extreme weather and acknowledge that we need to do something to better protect our communities," said Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. "I think there is a way to make progress here without putting a spotlight on climate change."