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 are already cosponsors). Previous meetings with the office will give you a good idea of what answer you will get to this main ask, especially since this is now our third lobby day with the bill before the Congress. 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 to support for our bill.
Bills supporting bipartisan climate action
This June CCL identified four bipartisan bills in Congress that were used as supporting asks. For December, we're asking lobby meetings to not focus on these bills as a main part of their meeting as we need to remain focused. Just as the format of the primary ask is a bit different this lobby day in response to the context we’re operating in, the context for making a supporting ask is different. Supporting asks made sense in June, however the situation for the end of 2020 is that if a carbon price is coming, the form it comes in will be particularly sensitive to what happens over the next 3-4 months.
If your team feels it must include a supporting ask for your meetings, the only one that can still add co-sponsors in both chambers is Growing Climate Solutions Act. Of the other supporting asks CCL discussed in June, three passed as part of a package, but were not part of the corresponding package in the other chamber, or the package was never taken up. As a result, these bills can no longer add co-sponsors and because of chaos of the lame duck period, and the urgency of getting a carbon fee or tax into any emerging larger climate package, CCL's legislative team recommends not focusing on them and if they do come up in your meetings, assure your office that they will again be of interest in the coming Congress. Descriptions of each bill are attached below (scroll down). Just click on the blue buttons for .pdf files with more information.
- USE IT Act (House) (Senate)
- BEST Act (House) (Senate)
- Growing Climate Solutions Act (House) (Senate)
- RECLAIM Act (House)(Senate)
These asks are not exhaustive and, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.