An ask is just what it sounds like: asking a member of Congress (MOC) to do something you want. This document goes over our primary ask, which we want to be brought up in all lobby meetings. It also offers a menu of secondary bills that are complementary to the Energy Innovation Act that can be a supporting ask and could provide stepping stones to gaining support for our primary ask.
What is a supporting ask?
You should always be clear that what you want is our primary ask. However, many members of Congress may not be ready to support the Energy Innovation Act or other carbon pricing bills when they are reintroduced in the 117th Congress. With the new Congress and presidential administration planning to act on climate, this is the time to show the support building around a carbon price. Even if you have a good idea of where your members stand on the bill or carbon pricing, you should again make the primary ask because the dynamics of the new Congress and presidential administration are so unique.
After that ask and subsequent discussion, it may make sense to make a supporting ask. Getting legislation passed is a complicated, coalition-building process in which lots of smaller steps must happen before we get a law, especially for a major bill like the Energy Innovation Act. Many members of Congress may be willing to support other bills that fit into the broader picture of addressing the climate crisis and are complementary to the Energy Innovation Act, and these could be stepping stones towards support for H.R. 763.
Bills supporting bipartisan climate action
CCL has identified two bipartisan bills that have been introduced in the 116th Congress that could be useful supporting asks. Our primary objective in promoting these bills is to encourage bipartisanship on climate in Congress. When these bills are reintroduced in the 117th Congress, having members already lined up to cosponsor these bills can accelerate their support in Congress. The bills from the previous Congress all have co-sponsors of both parties, all are complementary to the Energy Innovation Act, and all address policy issues that a carbon price does not. They are also all bills that make sense to move forward on as we deal with the current pandemic. Descriptions of each bill are in the attachment below. Just click on the .pdf file or blue hyperlinks for more information.
This list is not exhaustive, and is smaller than in the past because of a lack of clarity about what bills will be re-introduced at all this Congress. These two are bills we’re confident will be re-introduced, and have support of other groups as well. If there is a bill your group would like to use as a supporting ask that is not on this list, please contact CCL’s Sr. Director of Government Affairs, Ben Pendergrass, at email@example.com. You should use your best judgment when deciding whether you want to make one or more of these bills a supporting ask. If any of them are a source of conflict within your group, please pick a different supporting ask.
Other Supporting Asks If you have been working on other supporting asks, such as holding a bipartisan briefing on local climate impacts, holding a virtual public forum in the district, or are continuing a conversation about the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House or the Senate, it is fine to continue with those. Note, CCL is asking you not to ask your Senators to join the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus at this time as the current members prefer to keep this as a small caucus. It is great to let your Senator know that it exists and that you are excited about Senators working together to make climate a bridge issue. The Senate Climate Solutions Caucus (more info) was formed in 2019 by Senator Michael Braun (R-IN) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). If your continued conversation on the House Climate Solutions Caucus leads to interest in joining, interested offices should speak with Josh Lipman (Josh.Lipman@mail.house.gov) in the office of co-chair Ted Deutch.
- Working With Congress Training Series
- Note: If your member is already a cosponsor, then focus on thanking them, finding out what support they could use in the district for this action, and perhaps how they could help recruit other sponsors or support the bill publicly. The How To Work With Existing Cosponsors training page provides more recommendations.