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President Joe Biden’s legislative climate agenda has kind of fallen out of the news. Lawmakers are focused on what the Biden administration calls the “economic-rescue bill,” the one with the $1,400 checks. The climate content will come in the second, “economic-recovery” package.
Yet this lull has concealed quite a bit of activity. The game before the game, so to speak, has begun: Experts and activists are putting their pieces on the board, stakeholders are sorting through strategies, and various lawmakers are signaling their preferred policies. It’s also possible to discern potential divisions among Democrats already, particularly in the Senate Democratic Caucus, which—with its bare majority—will likely have to lend its full support to any climate bill.
If you want to see the United States pass a law about climate change in the next 12 months, it is time to start thinking about these issues, even without a draft bill text, a comprehensive plan, or an obvious outlet for citizen engagement. I think it’s important, too, to get your bearings before the gamboling parade of politics reporters rolls in and accidentally overturns some tables. So here’s a short and non-exhaustive guide to a few of the important disagreements (and consensus points) that have emerged.