The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented instability across American communities. Over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the last several weeks. Hospitals are strained to provide enough beds for patients. Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and keep their staff on payroll. Public health officials are battling this novel virus while simultaneously learning more about it each day. Everyone has been rocked by this virus in some way and yet the nation has come together to meet this moment.
A pandemic requires a robust response, which is why Congress came together to pass the largest relief package in history. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided funding and resources to the many individuals, businesses, hospitals, organizations, and government agencies on the front lines of this crisis. Members continue to evaluate what more Congress can do to have an immediate impact across communities as COVID-19 continues.
Unfortunately, some prominent Democrats are shamelessly using this immediate and devastating crisis to push extreme pet projects through which the government would completely rework our energy systems and economy in the name of addressing climate change. In fact, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) recently told POLITICO that the all-hands-on-deck national response to COVID-19 is “a dress rehearsal for addressing the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), who leads the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said to E&E News, “… it’s a road map for getting Congress to spend trillions of dollars.”
This is detached from reality. The task at hand is protecting Americans from this virus. Not exploiting a crisis to shove unfair, destructive policies onto the American people. It’s also particularly ironic given Democratic party leaders repeatedly blocked the urgent funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. This program was created to help American small businesses keep their own staff on payroll during the pandemic. Democrats instead focused on their radical left agenda and have needlessly delayed providing much-needed aid directly to the American people struggling each day to provide for their families and employees due to COVID-19.
Americans want relief and results – not radicalism. While Democrats are promoting their Green New Deal, Republicans will remain focused on addressing immediate and emerging needs to help Americans address COVID-19, to help people get back to work, and to help rebound the economy. This means focusing on American strengths. It means restoring the tremendous benefits of our existing energy systems to power the rebound; it means unleashing our private innovation by removing red-tape-barriers that slow American businesses and workers; it means unrelenting focus on restoring prosperity and opportunity that flow from enterprising Americans when they have the freedom to work and build. It is against this backdrop that Republicans will continue to lead—both for our economic health and our environmental health. In a point of fact, our innovative climate efforts are already making a difference in communities.
The Democrats’ approach will not solve climate change.
During COVID-19, atmospheric CO2 could be lowered as much as 5 percent – mainly because mobility is so limited and businesses are shuttered. Compare that to the directives called for by the United Nations – it says we must lower concentrations by at least 7.6 percent to address climate change. So that means shutting down our economy and causing tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs still will not reduce CO2 emissions to the kind of numbers called for by the United Nations, and many Democrats.
They are saying destroying our economy is not enough. Repeat: destroying our economy is NOT enough to meet the UN standards. We want to protect our planet for future generations, but to think we can never go to work or leave our homes is simply not feasible long-term.
What can we do to address climate change risks?
There are realistic and impactful initiatives that will keep people working while protecting our environment.
- Tax credits for lowering carbon emissions expanded in 2018, as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This carbon capture incentive, known as 45Q, has already been used by facilities across the nation and can create jobs. According to the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, the carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) credit could create 4.3 to 6.1 million additional jobs. American innovators are ready to use this incentive to curb emissions, and several carbon capture projects are already being developed while the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues rules outlining how businesses can create credit.
- Work together… 12 in ’20 – Energy and Commerce Republicans called for action on 12 bipartisan bills in December that Democrats could consider in 2020 to help reduce emissions, promote clean energy, and conserve our natural resources.
- Republicans are stepping up. In February, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy partnered with Republican leaders to unveil the first pillar of an agenda that would foster American innovation, create jobs, and reduce emissions. One of the measures included in this proposal would permanently extend the 45Q credit. That kind of incentive helps our job creators, American workers, and our environment.
While many questions remain unanswered during COVID-19, one thing is clear: innovation can be – and must be – an American advantage. For our nation to continue to lead on the world stage, we must continue to work together to unleash the awesome might of our free market through creative, innovative solutions. The stakes are high, and if we fail to rise to this challenge, the unimaginative will fill the void. Politicians will sling fancy slogans and false promises to the public, and their tired, unworkable, and ineffective ideas will push down the greatness of our country. That cannot happen, not now, not when we know exactly how much pain it will cause.