June 2022 Lobby Trainings with Dr. Danny Richter

By Berit Thorson

Recap: June 2022 Lobby Trainings with Dr. Danny RichterOne way or another, 2022 has already brought us into June, which means it’s lobby meeting season! CCA Vice President of Government Affairs, Dr. Danny Richter, is back to present CCL members with a legislative action plan ahead of lobbying meetings in June this year. This training took place in two parts at the end of May. Part 1 covered what has changed since November, the current dynamics of Congress, and the role CCL can play in advancing climate action at this time. Part 2 discussed the primary and secondary demands, both in general and for each segment of Congress, as well as what each demand attempts to accomplish.

Danny begins by reminding us of what has changed since our last lobby meetings in November. “There are a lot of developments and there has been a lot of expectation,” he says. For the past seven months, Senator Manchin has since decided not to support Build Back Better, has expressed support up to $555 billion in climate provisions, remains consistent in its priorities and concerns, and is work with Senator Murkowski regarding a bipartisan effort on climate and energy. “In my eyes, Senator Manchin has been extremely consistent throughout this process,” adds Danny. “To that end, he always talks about the climatic provisions.”

Meanwhile, reconciliation is still top of mind for Democrats as they head into the summer and the midterm elections loom. Russia invaded Ukraine, which simultaneously highlighted the need for energy independence (look at this editorial written by CCL Executive Director Madeleine Para) and spooked some members of Congress – on both sides – into calling for a gas tax exemption (which would not increase energy independence). Inflation has also continued to worsen, there has been social upheaval and outrage around issues like abortion and mass shootings, and the approaching midterm elections are impacting on the attention paid to climate solutions by many members of Congress. In short, it has been a busy nearly seven months, and while there is hope for meaningful climate solutions, our members of Congress will need to be reminded that their constituents want climate action, and soon.

What’s on the minds of members of Congress?

As election season approaches, each side of the political spectrum has an agenda. “We are in an election period. Political discussions will increasingly take place in the context of the upcoming mid-term reviews in November. Democrats want to show they’ve passed legislation; they have a strong incentive to push through reconciliation, as they did with COVID-19 aid in 2021. They are unlikely to be able to pass sweeping climate legislation without reconciliation, as Republicans want to deny Democratic legislative successes before the midterms this fall. Finally, the staffers on the Hill, whom you will likely encounter at your lobby meetings, are feeling the reconciliation fatigue and general burnout on the Democratic side (so be very patient and kind), and are focused on making not to help the Democrats on the Republican side (so pay attention to your framing).

It’s important to realize, says Danny, that with the (true) reconciliation deadline of July 30, 2022 (rather than the technical deadline of September 30) fast approaching, hearing from voters will be energizing for members of the Congress and encourage them to adopt a reconciliation package that includes climate action. However, there will be little room for negotiation on the wording of the bill, so whatever is negotiated within the Democratic caucus will be what passes, if at all. Danny says that unfortunately there is very little chance that a carbon price will be part of any reconciliation budget passed. However, given Senator Manchin’s explicit support for this policy, there is a good chance that a methane levy will be part of it. “Actually,” Danny said, “I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t.” Democrats will have to hear from their constituents to get a final deal on the line. This is where we come in. If the reconciliation package can be passed with anything close to a $555 billion climate provision, it would be the biggest investment our government has made in the fight against climate change, about five times that!

As we remind Democrats of their constituents’ interest in climate solutions, we also want to gain Republican support for climate action. Because there’s less focus on Republican members of Congress right now as part of the minority party, they’re more willing to take their stated policies of climate support a step further. Danny says Republicans are moving toward climate solutions “like they’ve never done before,” so now is a good time to get them to strengthen their climate provisions and commitments, especially before the start of the new Congress and that their actions are more scrutinized by the media.

June 2022 CCL primary and support applications

Danny divides Congress into six segments, which have distinct goals and frameworks you can use in your lobby meetings. You can learn more about the six segments — Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, Populist House Republicans, Progressive House Democrats, Moderate House Republicans, and Grassroots Democrats — and their competing interests. here. The demands of the CCA for these different groups can be distributed in different ways.

Mainly, we have both main and support requests. Additionally, Danny assigned specific demands to specific segments of Congress. For all Democrats in the House and Senate, our main demand is that they help America meet President Biden’s climate pledge. They’ll be okay with this because it’s been on their minds in the past, but it’s important that we refocus their attention on the science of climate change as the distractions increase. For moderate Senate and House Republicans, Danny recommends using a request for support, which you can see below, as it will build momentum for climate policy that will make it easier to pass such a policy in a Congress divided. Finally, for populist House Republicans, the main demand should be to help America win by considering a border carbon adjustment. Danny explains that this will create the best chance of engaging members of this segment and “more effectively set up carbon pricing discussions going forward, as we’re likely heading into a divided Congress.”

The requests for support that we will focus on for this series of lobbying meetings follow CCL’s June 2022 ABCs of Lobbying: they achieve strategic goals, are bipartisan and are complementary to the Energy Innovation Act. These are more important to Republican offices this lobbying season, because our top ask for most Republicans is our requests for support. Moderate House Republicans can be encouraged to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA), which passed the Senate 92-8 and aims to rally farmers behind climate solutions. You can also ask Senate Republicans and moderate House Republicans to support the FOREST Act (Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade), which encourages tree planting and imposes penalties for major deforestation. Additionally, as a primary demand for Senate Republicans and moderate House Republicans, the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy (NCARS) Act is a good primary demand because it requires the federal government to taking climate impacts into account in decisions, which is a good way to create solutions upstream. Finally, members of the Senate on both sides can be asked, in the alternative, to support the RISEE (Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems) Act which will give all states a greater financial stake in climate solutions.

As you prepare for the June 2022 lobbying season, we implore you to keep these requests at the forefront of your mind, and hope that Danny’s Congress segmentation can help you target and personalize the requests you make. during your meetings. We are confident that the work you do in these lobbying sessions will lead to great climate successes and increase support for climate solutions in these six segments of Congress. Please contact our staff members via CCA Community if you think of questions not covered in Danny’s training.

Berit Thorson is CCL’s Spring 2022 Communications Intern. As an outdoor enthusiast, she is passionate about protecting nature and people from the impacts of climate change, and is excited to work with CCL to achieve these goals.

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