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The House Climate Solutions Caucus

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The bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is a bipartisan group working on solutions for climate change. The purpose of the caucus is to “explore policy options that address the impacts, causes and challenges of our changing climate” (see also Senate Climate Solutions Caucus).

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What is the House Climate Solutions Caucus?

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives working on solutions to climate change. The caucus grows in a bipartisan fashion by bringing Republicans and Democrats on board to work together to identify and pass strong climate legislation. Originally formed in 2016, it was co-chaired by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, both from Florida. In the 116th Congress, the caucus was co-chaired by Republican Rep. Francis Rooney and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch. The House Climate Solutions Caucus has not yet formally resumed in the 117th Congress. 

Who was on the House Caucus?

The membership of the Climate Solutions Caucus in the 116th Congress is shown on this slide. Updates in the 117th Congress will be shown on the Climate Solutions Caucus public CCL page

Has the House Climate Solutions Caucus endorsed the Energy Innovation Act?

No, the Climate Solutions Caucus has not endorsed any legislation in the current Congress. However, members of the House Climate Solutions Caucus have historically shown support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. All 10 sponsors of the original Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 were Caucus members. We honor their commitment to the mission of depoliticizing our changing climate.  

What is the purpose of the House Climate Solutions Caucus?

The paperwork submitted when the caucus was formed mentions two specific aims: (1) “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk” and (2) “to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.” These two goals have been addressed through caucus activities such as member-only conversations, staff briefings and legislative strategies.

Why does CCL support the House Climate Solutions Caucus if it isn’t working on passing the Energy Innovation Act?

The Climate Solutions Caucus provides an important avenue to aid in the mission of depoliticizing discussions about how to address our changing climate. It provides a forum where members of the House—some of whom disagree with each other—can sit together in a safe space and engage in respectful discussions. Dr. Danny Richter, CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, points out that this depoliticization is critical to the ultimate success of legislation to address climate change. 

The caucus makes it safe and politically smart for elected officials to talk about and then implement solutions. Ignoring climate change is a party line for some Republicans. For others, who want to acknowledge and address the problem, the caucus offers a manageable first step. When members of Congress talk about climate change as an important issue, the grassroots follow their lead. 

The caucus gives its members a platform to talk about the issue, educate their constituencies, and show the benefits of climate action. Joining the caucus is like grabbing the first rung on a ladder. If members of Congress receive enough support for grabbing the first rung, they will be motivated to grab the next rung and the next one, eventually supporting major climate legislation.

What is the relationship between CCL and the House Climate Solutions Caucus?

For the full story behind CCL’s involvement in the formation and growth of the CSC, read CCL’s blog on the Jay Butera story. Jay Butera is now on CCL’s Advisory Board, and he played a very large role in building relationships and nurturing the environment in which such a caucus could come to be. Since the founding of the caucus, CCL’s role has been to help grow its membership: bringing MOCs to the table through the requests of constituents within congressional districts. The caucus co-chairs, Republican Rep. Francis Rooney and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, set agendas for regular meetings and determine the priorities for the caucus. For more information, listen to Dr. Danny Richter and Jay Butera explore the history under the Watch and Listen tabs.

What are the key messages about the House Climate Solutions Caucus?

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives that has worked on solutions to climate change. We’re grateful for the commitment that legislators who have participated with this caucus have made to   identifying and passing strong bipartisan climate legislation.

  • The Climate Solutions Caucus has helped depoliticize the issue, making it safe and politically smart for elected officials to talk about—and then tackle—climate change.
  • Bipartisan is best. We get better, longer-lasting solutions with both parties at the table.
  •  
Has the House Climate Solutions Caucus made an impact?

Yes, the caucus has madean impact. Members of the caucus have voted together against an anti-climate amendment, spoken out against the Paris withdrawal, and quickly condemned offshore drilling expansions. Building consensus in Congress takes time and is an incredibly valuable process. The caucus has helped build that consensus that we should be persistently encouraging, rather than being cynical or suspicious.

The caucus grew exponentially in the past and welcomed dozens of new members. By reaching 90 members in the 115th Congress and starting the 116th Congress with 61 members, it’s clear they’ve succeeded at making climate change a safe, smart topic for legislators to discuss. 

Why is bipartisanship so important?

Bipartisan is best. We get better, longer-lasting solutions with both parties at the table. Climate change is bigger than partisan politics. The considerable number of Republicans that have participated in the Climate Solutions Caucus is proof that climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Climate change needs lasting legislative action and research demonstrates that when you look at what caused the public to change their opinions between 2002-2010, the most important factor was elected officials’ stances on the issue. (Brulle, Carmichael, and Jenkins, 2012; and updated again in 2016) If Republicans and Democrats on the Climate Solutions Caucus produce a bipartisan bill, their joint solution is likely to stick. Our climate needs a durable solution that can be passed in this congress and remain in place over further elections. It’s important for everyone currently in office to be moving forward on this issue, and the caucus helps them do that.

What happens when a member on the House Climate Solutions Caucus leaves office?

The member they joined with maintains their membership. At the start of the 116th Congress, all returning members were retained in the caucus (20 Republicans and 41 Democrats) and two new Republicans were added. Going forward, members will join in bipartisan pairs.

Summarized Timeline Of Climate Solutions Caucus Activity
  • June 20, 2019 - Official relaunch of the Climate Solutions Caucus for the 116th Congress with 20 Republicans and 41 Democrats returning, and two new Republicans joining.
  • June 27, 2018 – On the heels of CCL’s annual conference and lobby day in Washington, D.C., the Climate Solutions Caucus saw a wave of new members and grew to 84 members, including new representation in Kansas and Kentucky.
  • April 13, 2018 – Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Mia Love (R-UT), both caucus members, joined with Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) to introduce H. Res. 825 (2018), a bipartisan resolution acknowledging the impact that climate change is having on outdoor recreation and supporting policies to address the problem.
  • February 23, 2018 – A bipartisan group of six caucus members sponsored the “Challenges and Prizes for Climate Act of 2018” to spur innovation in areas needed to combat climate change. More details here.
  • February 7, 2018 – The caucus reached 70 members. Among the 35 Republicans is former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton.
  • January 30, 2018 – Caucus Democrat Rep. Don Beyer introduced a carbon cap and dividend bill into the House, called the “Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2018.” Details here.
  • January 7, 2018 – Many caucus members speak out on offshore drilling. Here’s a roundup of statements (even more may have come out after this piece was published).
  • November 30, 2017 – 12 House Republicans, eight of whom were caucus members, signed a letter to congressional leadership opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • November 1, 2017 – 10 caucus members spoke on the House floor about climate change and the need for bipartisan action. Watch all their speeches here.
  • November 1, 2017 – Three Democratic caucus members and 14 other Democrats introduced the America Wins Act, a carbon pricing bill.
  • September 13, 2017 – The caucus held a meeting discussing the economic impacts of climate change on the outdoor and tourism industries.
  • July 13, 2017 – The caucus voted as a bloc to defeat an anti-climate amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • May 4, 2017 – Caucus members John Delaney (D-MD) and John Faso (R-NY) introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act, H.R. 2326  (2017), along with 10 other caucus members. The legislation would establish a bipartisan panel to review “economically viable actions or policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and make recommendations to the president, Congress and states.
  • January 3, 2017 – The caucus was re-established for the 115th Congress, with only six Republicans and nine Democrats after the November 2016 election.
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To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

History & Timeline
(2:14)

Support Resources
(10:15)

Accomplishments Hand-out
(15:35)

Responding to Criticism
(22:20)

Q&A
(28:27)

Final Thoughts
(49:36)

Instructor(s)

Dr. Danny Richter

Jay Butera

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Audio length
Press play to start the audio (55m 28s)
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Audio Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

History & Timeline
(2:14)

Support Resources
(10:15)

Accomplishments Hand-out
(15:35)

Responding to Criticism
(22:20)

Q&A
(28:27)

Final Thoughts
(49:36)
 

Instructor(s)

Dr. Danny Richter

Jay Butera

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