A group of about a dozen lawmakers is pushing for a bipartisan deal on climate change, meeting three times in two weeks to try to work out a deal that could get 60 votes in an evenly divided Senate.
The talks, led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), appear to have gained momentum as work on a separate reconciliation package that would have included climate provisions sits on ice.
However, lawmakers are describing discussions on the bipartisan maneuver as still being relatively early, and it’s not clear whether they will be able to reach a deal that satisfies enough senators on both sides.
The latest talks, which took place Wednesday evening, focused on tax credits, which were also a major component of Democrats’ failed Build Back Better bill.
Specifically, Build Back Better had incorporated tax credits expected to benefit energy sources including solar, wind and nuclear and things like batteries and carbon capture.
Some Democrats had expressed hope that the bipartisan route may be a way to get some of these credits across the finish line and to President Biden’s desk.
“There’s a way to get real climate action. In other words, a lot of what was in the reconciliation bill could be in this bipartisan bill,” Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) told The Hill on Tuesday.
Irreconcilable differences? Asked why Democrats were pursuing a bipartisan strategy rather than trying to negotiate among themselves, Hickenlooper said, “we don’t have 50 votes.”
However, others see a potential bipartisan package as running concurrently with a reconciliation bill.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) described a “two-track process” that would include a bipartisan climate change bill that “builds on” the bipartisan infrastructure law and another that may “go beyond that.”
“We can do both at the same time,” he said.
Read more about the talks picking up steam here, from Rachel.