What is a Reconciliation Bill?
The budget reconciliation process is a special fast tracked legislative process by which congress is able to pass bills dealing with spending and taxes. The budget reconciliation process amends the traditional need for sixty votes to pass a bill in the Senate and requires only fifty-one votes to pass a bill or fifty votes with the Vice President being the tie breaking vote. The budget reconciliation process is unique in that it holds special status in the Senate and cannot be filibustered.
During the creation of a budget reconciliation bill, legislative text is drafted by select committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Once text has been produced in the House and Senate separately the two texts must then be combined and approved by both chambers before it is sent to the President for final signature.
Reconciliation and Climate Policy
So what does budget reconciliation have to do with the climate? Right now in the U.S. Congress, senators and representatives are writing, amending and discussing a budget reconciliation bill that is going to include President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better Agenda’. This agenda includes specific climate measures such as achieving a carbon free power sector by 2035, investing in clean energy, new energy efficiency standards, environmental justice consideration and more.
Committees in the House and Senate have been working to produce a reconciliation bill that includes climate and energy policies and we can expect to see full text versions of the bill from both the House and Senate by the end of September. This is a BIG DEAL! Climate policy is on the line and this bill could be the catalyst for the emergency action that our climate and communities so desperately need.
The time for change is now!
The latest IPCC Report has made it clear: we are living through the climate emergency and we cannot afford the consequences of continued use of fossil fuels. As the timeline winds down for passing reconciliation legislation, the support of our senators and representatives is vital.
Through crucial policy investments, Congress can:
- jumpstart a just transition to renewable energy, while rejecting false solutions like gas
- create millions of future, ready-livable wage, energy sector jobs
- invest in climate impacted regions
- combat the climate catastrophe that threatens us all daily
Young people have the power to shift the narrative and now is the time to stand alongside thousands of ACE members and tell your Senator to support climate solutions and include local distributed renewable energy legislation in the current reconciliation bill!
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