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Senators Murray, Wyden, Cantwell, Merkley, Schatz, Bennet, and Padilla on video press call highlighted the need for a landmark investment in climate action through Build Back Better budget and bipartisan infrastructure bill following a summer of extreme weather across the Western U.S.

Call followed President Biden calling the climate crisis “a code red for humanity,” after visiting Western states to advocate for major investments in combatting climate change 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Assistant Democratic Leader, was joined by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Alex Padilla (D-CA) for a video press call on the urgent need for a landmark investment in climate action through Senate Democrats’ Build Back Better budget, particularly as the Western United States has seen a dramatic increase in extreme weather as a result of the climate crisis.

“My colleagues and I who run our schedules according to Pacific Time and beyond get it—and we are united in a really critical objective: which is to deliver a landmark investment on climate action through the Build Back Better budget,” said Senator Murray. “Just this summer in Washington state, we got hit by a heat wave that literally made the pavement on our highways buckle— the climate crisis is here and now, it’s not some distant worry for another day. I don’t want our kids to have to live through droughts that get worse each year or to only know smoke filled skies in the summer. Investing in climate action will help protect our planet for current and future generations and it will create millions of good paying, union jobs at the same time. We are not taking our ball and going home, we are going to deliver on climate action in a big way.”

"In Oregon and across the entire West, we've seen temperatures soaring into the stratosphere; drought melting our mountain tops and drying up our waterways; smoke choking our neighborhoods; and wildfires devastating them. It all adds up unmistakably to a climate emergency," Senator Wyden said. "Democrats are committed to a long-overdue reset of America’s approach to the climate crisis so everyone, but especially the younger generations, can have the healthier and greener future they deserve."

“Climate is really costing our economy, and inaction is not a solution. That is why we are making major investments in policy here in Washington, DC to reverse those impacts by making investments in smart technology and smart strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate. One of the things that we have to do is be the best weather forecasters in the world and currently, we’re not. That is why we’re putting new money into supercomputing, new cutting edge technology on scientific research and new models through NOAA and NOAA’s data that will help us get better information to the public,” said Senator Cantwell.

“Last Labor Day, I drove 600 miles and never got out of the smoke from the fires in Oregon,” said Senator Merkley. “I visited town after town that had been incinerated. It is a sight that I never want to see again. We have to wake up and smell the smoke and recognize that enormous increases in fires and other natural disasters are being driven by climate change. The answer is pretty simple: Electrify everything with renewable energy. That is what Build Back Better does. We have a lot of work to do, so let’s get to work!”

“The west is on fire. We are seeing towns being wiped off the map. Tens of thousands of people being evacuated. Things are completely out of hand, but somehow we’re still being told that climate action is too expensive or will harm the economy. It’s preposterous. The truth is climate action is cheap compared to climate inaction. We can either do nothing and spend trillions of dollars responding to disasters that get more extreme every year. Or, we can make smart investments in the jobs and technologies that will help us cut carbon pollution and save our planet,” said Senator Schatz.

“When I was traveling around Colorado this summer, we couldn’t see the mountains for days at a time because the haze was so thick. I have never felt more urgent about climate change than I do today. The budget bill is our best opportunity in years to begin fulfilling our responsibility to the next generation -- with investments to reduce carbon pollution, deploy clean energy, restore our forests, and protect our water supplies. Our kids have a reasonable expectation that we will do our job and preserve our Western economy and way of life for them -- and it’s why I’m prepared to do everything I can to get this done,” said Senator Bennet.

“For families in California, the climate crisis is already a daily reality,” said Senator Padilla. “This year, thousands of Californians have fled their homes because of wildfires, while the escalating drought is forcing people to buy bottled water and family farms to give up their livelihood. That is why I am committed to prioritizing transformational climate action as Senate Democrats move forward with a bold budget reconciliation bill.”

The Build Back Better budget the Senators are currently negotiating is positioned to be the most significant investment in climate action in history—instituting a sweeping Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP) that would move the country’s utilities toward renewable sources, groundbreaking clean energy and vehicle tax incentives, a Civilian Climate Corps, climate smart agriculture and wildfire prevention and forestry, the federal procurement of clean technologies, the weatherization and electrification of buildings, and the creation of a Clean Energy Accelerator. The proposed provisions would help meet President Biden’s goal to achieve 80% clean electricity and cut carbon emissions economy-wide by 50% by 2030, all while promoting environmental justice and creating millions of good paying, union jobs.

Western Democratic Senators were also instrumental in passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which includes a $65 billion investment in clean energy, $7.5 billion investment electric vehicles (EVs) and EV infrastructure, a $21 billion investment in environmental remediation as well as other environmental justice provisions, and more than $50 billion towards climate resiliency improvements, including $8 billion for wildfire recovery and prevention efforts.