Democratic senators at CNN Citizen event say they’re optimistic climate bill can pass this year

Heinrich said the climate provisions had not been a sticking point with leading moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, even before Manchin spoke out against President Joe Biden’s climate and economic legislation, known as the name of Build Back Better, at the end of last year. Talks between Manchin and the White House recently resumed on a smaller package, which will include funding for climate efforts.

“We’re definitely not getting closer to 100%, but I think we’re well, well over 50% that we can get something together,” New Mexico’s Heinrich told CNN’s Bill Weir during an interview. a CNN Citizen event on Thursday focused on the evolving climate crisis. “It may not be as broad as many of us had hoped, but profoundly meaningful for the climate.”

Markey, who joined Heinrich and Weir on Thursday’s panel, said the clean energy industry is asking Congress for the same tax incentives that fossil fuel companies have long enjoyed. The panel was organized by CNN and George Washington University, which are partnering around the Ted Turner Endowment for Environmental Journalism.

“For 100 years, the oil and gas industry has received tax breaks from the American people,” said the Massachusetts Democrat. “Now when we talk about tax breaks for our tech companies, they call it socialism. And all we’re saying is if you’ve had tax breaks for 100 years for fossil fuels, give us some of that socialism for wind, solar, and batteries, and we’ll bury that industry in a generation. We’ll roll out all-electric vehicles, but we need those tax breaks on the books.

Markey, who championed the last major climate bill in Congress that failed in 2010, said the youth climate movement urging action gives him hope.

“The biggest difference is this: there is now a movement,” he said. “Young people 18, 25, 30, 35, they want action. This is now an issue that has captured the passion of young people in our country. They have worked hard in 2020 to elect a House and a Senate Democrats.”