Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation welcomed yesterday’s announcement that Senate lawmakers have reached a deal on expansive legislation to address climate change, reduce healthcare costs, and promote accountability and fairness in the U.S. tax code. The reconciliation bill, while imperfect, represents the most ambitious climate action ever undertaken by Congress.
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“This bill could not come at a more urgent time. Climate change is rapidly intensifying, with the largest burden falling on the shoulders of marginalized communities,” said FCNL General Secretary Bridget Moix. “Lawmakers have a responsibility to serve as wise and responsible stewards of the planet. By passing this bill and investing in clean and sustainable energy, they can begin living up to that responsibility.”
While final details are still emerging, the package reportedly invests $369 billion in renewable energy tax credits, incentives for electric vehicles, and environmental justice initiatives to support communities most impacted by the climate crisis. Together, these measures are expected to place the United States on a path to reducing its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
“After years of inaction, the new reconciliation deal serves as a beacon of light in our work towards an earth restored,” said Clarence Edwards, FCNL’s legislative director for sustainable energy and environment. “There are some disappointments—for instance, the provisions to expand oil and gas leasing in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. But the positive benefits of this bill far outweigh the negatives. Lawmakers must pass it without delay.”
As lawmakers prepare to vote on the package, however, a vital need remains unaddressed: The Medicaid coverage gap. In states that have elected not to expand Medicaid, more than two million Americans are left without affordable access to healthcare. Congress can and must help these individuals by including a provision to close the Medicaid coverage gap in the final reconciliation package.
“Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is of utmost importance. This sorely needed policy step would ensure that 2.2 million people no longer have to choose between healthcare and their financial security,” said Moix.
We remain disappointed that lawmakers failed to expand the Child Tax Credit as part of their negotiations. When the expanded Child Tax Credit lapsed in January 2022, 3.4 million children fell back into poverty. Congress must explore all pathways to restore this transformative benefit in the coming months.