House Democrats call on Biden to use climate crisis as ‘building block’ to restart social spending bill

Dozens of House Democrats signed a letter addressed to US President Joe Biden asking that the climate crisis be the "building block to restart negotiations" on the Build Back Better social spending bill.

To resuscitate the stalled bill, the 89 Democrats underscored in their letter on Monday how the $555bn (£426.3bn) in funding set aside for climate resilience and clean energy would be a “key starting point where common ground can be pursued”.

“Inaction now will mean irreversible consequences for our future generations. Given the widespread agreement in the U.S. Senate for House passed climate provisions, we have an opportunity to recommence negotiations with climate serving as a key starting point,” the House Democratic letter reads, led by Rep Sean Casten.

The letter emphasised a united front in confronting the climate emergency, with both centrists and progressives from within the party and six committee chairs signing the message.

“We are committed to working with you to realize the totality of the Building a Better America vision. Restarting negotiations with climate action is a clear path forward to deliver tangible results to the American people,” the letter continued.

Despite the seeming consensus on how the Build Back Better legislation should consider handling the climate crisis, Democrats remain divided on broader elements on the bill, including massive investments for social spending programs like childcare and healthcare.

Sen Joe Manchin, who voted no on the bill last December, recently offered up a scaled back version that would sideline President Biden’s social spending core initiatives like expanded childcare, universal pre-kindergarten, national paid family leave and long-term home healthcare.