The Senate Climate Solutions Caucus
This training provides details regarding the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, initiated by two Senators stepping up to the plate on climate change in a major way. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, are creating a bipartisan climate caucus in the Senate (see also House Climate Solutions Caucus).
What is the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus?
The purpose of the caucus is unmistakable: cross-party climate dialogue. Bringing members of both parties together for productive conversations is a crucial first step to finding common ground on major legislation.
In launching the caucus, Senator Braun and Coons said:
“We are launching the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of senators who, like the Americans we serve, believe Congress should play a central role in guiding America’s 21st century energy economy and addressing the challenge of a changing climate. Our caucus seeks to take the politics out of this important issue. Instead, members will commit to an honest dialogue, through which we can develop solutions that solidify American environmental leadership, promote American workers, and make meaningful progress on protecting our environment.”
Who is in the caucus?
There are currently 14 senators in the caucus and it's aim is to bring together an equal number of Republicans and Democrats to craft and advance bipartisan solutions to address climate change.
Currently the Senate caucus is led by Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana). On Nov. 6, 2019, Sens. Coons and Braun announced that six additional members would join the newly-formed bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus: Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Angus King (I-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). On Feb. 6, 2020, four additional members were added: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), bringing the current total to twelve. On Feb. 21, 2020, two additional members were added: Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Rob Portman (R-OH).
Should I ask my Senator to join the caucus?
CCL is asking you NOT to ask your Senators to join this 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.
Take Action on the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus
While we want the caucus members to feel our love, please do not call or send letters to their offices unless you are a constituent.
- If you’re a constituent of a member, you can email or call to thank them.
- All CCL supporters can tweet your thanks to the members of the caucus.
You can also write LTEs and share CCL’s social media on the topic.
Join our Social Media Action Team for ongoing updates and opportunities to take action.
What is the relationship between CCL and the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus?
Since 2016, Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteers have been asking their Senators to form a bipartisan group to complement the House Climate Solutions Caucus. Our supporting ask in previous lobby days was to make climate “a bridge issue, not a wedge issue.” Our polite and persistent requests were no doubt a factor in these Senators’ decision to form this caucus.
What should I say to people and the media about the Climate Solutions Caucus?
In conversations about the caucus, we suggest sharing a few key points:
- The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. Senate working on solutions to climate change. The group has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.
- As a dedicated bipartisan space to discuss climate solutions, this group is a major milestone for the Senate. Respectful bipartisan dialogue can lead to more common ground on major legislation.
- According to a poll by Luntz Global, 4 out of 5 of voters (80%) want Congress to put politics aside and reach a bipartisan solution on climate change. This new bipartisan Senate group takes both the approach and the focus that Americans want to see.
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 on the House 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 bipartisan bills, their joint solutions are likely to stick. Our climate can’t wait until the next election. It’s important for everyone currently in office to be moving forward on this issue, and the caucus helps them do that.
How is this different from the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House?
Very different. The House Climate Solutions Caucus had two main purposes: to provide a bipartisan space for members of Congress to discuss climate solutions and to demonstrate that there is broad bipartisan support for climate action. To show that broad support, there was a larger emphasis on recruiting members.
The Senate caucus is more focused on action and is being kept small so they can more easily discuss and agree upon potential legislation. The Senate caucus is not focused on any single policy and will only act when each member agrees on legislation.