Numerous mayors and organizations representing city leaders throughout the U.S. are praising the climate provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act and urging the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to vote in favor, in the wake of the U.S. Senate passing the bill Sunday.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill would slash carbon emissions in the U.S. by about 40% by 2030 and is considered the largest climate investment in the nation’s history. Those provisions would support ongoing efforts by many city leaders throughout the U.S. that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening their cities’ resilience to the more frequent and extreme weather events worsened by climate change.
Senate Republicans were unified in their opposition to the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that it would provide job-killing tax hikes and is “a war on American fossil fuel,” while not meaningfully cutting inflation. However, at the local level, numerous mayors expressed vocal support for the legislation.
In an open letter on behalf of Climate Mayors — a network of more than 500 U.S. mayors — the mayors of Houston, Phoenix and Madison, Wisconsin, urged Democratic congressional leadership to quickly pass the IRA to support their efforts in reducing pollution, creating jobs and building “clean, affordable infrastructure.”
“While we await bold federal climate action, our cities, frontline communities, and other overburdened communities have had their lives, livelihoods, and homes threatened by the impacts of the climate crisis,” the mayors wrote. “This landmark piece of legislation will finally provide local leaders with the resources and tools to implement cleaner, more sustainable, and more equitable climate solutions.”
The bill extends electric vehicle tax credits. It also includes consumer tax credits for electric HVAC, heat pumps, rooftop solar and water heaters; $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs; and establishes a $1 billion grant program to make affordable housing more energy efficient.
Further, it provides tax credits aimed at accelerating U.S. manufacturing of clean energy sources such as batteries, wind turbines, and solar. It supports building clean technology manufacturing facilities and retooling existing auto manufacturing facilities to produce clean vehicles. And the legislation also includes funding for projects in disadvantaged communities that address environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change, among other measures, according to a summary published by Senate Democrats.
“This is an important step in the right direction, laying the groundwork for more concerted actions that are needed to avoid runaway climate change,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities, a network of nearly 100 major world cities and their mayors that collaborate on climate action, in a statement. “Mayors across the United States stand ready to deploy the investments from the Inflation Reduction Act in order to help achieve their own goals for ambitious climate action.”
Watts said additional steps will be needed, as the bill would still leave the U.S. short of the Biden administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, but it represents “significant progress.” If passed by the House, then cities, states, businesses and the federal government will need to “[realize] the investments made and build on them,” Watts said.
Today the U.S Senate delivered the single largest investment ever in fighting the climate crisis, clean energy, and job creation.— Daniella Levine Cava (@MayorDaniella) August 8, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act is government at its best – it will safeguard our future while lowering costs for millions of American families.
In a statement, U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran said the Senate has begun to “solve some of the biggest challenges facing American cities,” citing savings on prescription drugs and healthcare costs, a “more just” tax system and the largest U.S. investment to fight the climate crisis.
“This bill is a huge win for our cities, and America’s mayors urge the House of Representatives to swiftly approve and send it to the president’s desk for his signature,” Cochran stated.
The National League of Cities, an organization comprising of municipal leaders from over 2,000 U.S. cities, towns and villages, also backed the legislation in a statement on Twitter: “From extreme weather events to sea level rise, local leaders see firsthand the devastating impact of the climate crisis. We thank the Senate for passing the Inflation Reduction Act.”