Additional Information on the Federal Legislative Agenda, 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Climate Change

House Legislative Scorecard 2019-2020

Senate Legislative Scorecard 2019-2020

Green New Deal – YES

H.Res.109 which was introduced to the House by Representative Ocasio-Cortez [D-NY-14], and is cosponsored by almost all of the Massachusetts Representatives, is also known as the Green New Deal. This resolution is an ambitious resolution to tackle climate change. S.Res.59 is the Senate’s version and was introduced by Massachusetts Senator Markey and is cosponsored by Senator Warren. Here is Sen. Markey’s press release on the Resolution. 

Women and Climate Change Act of 2019 – YES

H.R.1880 and S.868 were introduced in March 2019 by Representative Lee [D-CA-13] and Senator Hirono [D-HI] respectively, with MA Reps. McGovern, Trahan, and Pressley signing on in 2019, and Kennedy joining in June 2020. This legislation would affirm the United States’ commitment to empowering women through economic development planning and international climate change policies, including practices to help communities embark on a path toward clean and sustainable development. Sen. Hirono’s press release can be found here and Rep. Lee’s here. Read a commentary piece on climate change and women here.

Climate Change Education – YES

S.477 and H.R.2349 were introduced by Senators Markey [D-MA] and Feinstein [D-CA] along with Representative Dingell [D-MI-12] in early 2019, with the support of MA Senator Warren and House Reps. Moulton and Pressley. This legislation declares the evidence for human-induced climate change overwhelming and undeniable and would establish a Climate Change Education Program to improve climate literacy and increase understanding of technological responses available. A press release can be found here.

Calls for Immediate Action on Climate Change and Abiding by International Commitments – YES

Representative Castor [D-FL-14] introduced H.R.9, also known as the Climate Action Now Act, was cosponsored by the entire MA delegation and later passed the House 231-190 with all MA Reps. voting Yea. Companion legislation S.1743, also known as the International Climate Accountability Act, was later introduced by Senator Shaheen [D-NJ], which MA Senators Warren and Markey both originally cosponsored. Here is a statement from Rep. Castor on the Senate legislation. These pieces of legislation aim to prohibit withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and direct the President to develop a plan for the U.S. to meet its obligations while providing regular reports.

Representatives Blumenauer [D-OR-3] and Ocasio-Cortez [D-NY-14], along with Senator Sanders [I-VT] introduced bicameral legislation declaring the climate crisis a national emergency. The legislation urgently demands a national mobilization to “halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of climate emergency and to restore the climate for future generations. H.Con.Res.52 was originally cosponsored by MA Reps. McGovern and Pressley followed by Reps. Kennedy, Clark, and Moulton, while S.Con.Res.22 was cosponsored by MA Senators Warren and Markey. A press release for this legislation can be found here.

National Climate Bank Act – YES

Senators Markey [D-MA] and Van Hollen [D-MD] introduced S.2057 in July 2019 while Representative Dingell [D-MI-12] introduced companion legislation H.R.5416 in December 2019, which Rep. Kennedy cosponsored in February 2020. This legislation would establish a National Climate Bank to leverage public and private funds to invest in clean energy technologies and infrastructure. Press releases for the Senate version can be found here and the House version here.

To Eliminate Certain Subsidies for Fossil Fuel Production and Ban Fracking- YES

Representative Omar [D-MN-5] introduced House legislation H.R.7781, cosponsored by MA Reps. Kennedy and Pressley, which would effectively end subsidies provided by the federal government to fossil fuel corporations. This bill would also abolish tax loopholes that benefit fossil fuel corporations and prevent them from taking advantage of COVID-19 relief funds, among other measures. See a press release here.

Senator Sanders [I-VT] and Representative Ocasio-Cortez [D-NY-14] introduced bicameral legislation S.3247 and H.R.5857, cosponsored by MA Rep. Pressley. These bills phase out the hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas nationwide, first through a prohibition on issuing new fracking permits, followed by revoking permits of wells where the EPA has identified the use of fracking. This bill bans all onshore and offshore fracking by 2025. Here is a press release on this legislation.

Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act – YES

Representative Cartwright [D-PA-8] and Senator Markey [D-MA] introduced bills H.R.1243 and S.523, respectively, to prepare for health impacts of climate change. This legislation will develop a national strategic action plan to tackle these public health challenges, which include pulmonary and cardiovascular illnesses, food-borne diseases, and heat-related impacts. The plan would identify and support the nation’s most vulnerable communities, while enhancing long-term research into the effects of climate change on the health of everyday Americans. These bills were cosponsored by MA Rep. Pressley and Sen. Warren. Here is a press release on this legislation.

Climate Change and National Security – YES

Representative Lynch [D-MA-8] introduced H.R.1201, also known as the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2019, with original cosponsorships from Reps. McGovern and Kennedy, while Senator Menendez [D-NJ] later introduced S.745, titled Climate Security Act of 2019. These pieces of legislation require the impacts of climate change to be identified and considered in the development and implementation of national security policies and plans. A press release on S.745 can be found here.

Climate Change Resilience and Preparedness – YES

Senator Markey [D-MA] introduced S.2565, also known as the Climate Change Resilience Strategy, the first of its kind legislation to address the climate-induced refugee crisis, including a global resilience strategy and a new humanitarian program to assist climate-displaced persons and authorize their admission to the United States. Companion legislation H.R.4732 was introduced by Representative Velazquez [D-NY-12] and cosponsored by MA Rep. McGovern. Sen. Markey’s press release can be found here, with Rep. Velazquez found here.

Representative Clarke [D-NY-9] introduced H.R.4823, also known as the FEMA Climate Change Preparedness Act, which requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to incorporate climate change into its duties, priorities, and strategic planning as extreme weather becomes more extreme and severe. Companion legislation S.3204 was later introduced by Senator Markey [D-MA], a press release on the matter can be found here.

Some additional information on climate change and the Green New Deal:

Climate Change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help

Defense Department emits more carbon dioxide than many countries” by Kate Yoder 

“10 ways to accelerate progress against climate change” by Eliza Barclay and Umair Irfan

“What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained” by Lisa Friedman

Updated August 6th, 2020