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Biden Pitches Spending Plan for Climate09/15 06:19

   President Joe Biden tried to advance his domestic spending plans on Colorado 
on Tuesday by warning about climate change's dangers while highlighting how his 
clean-energy proposals would also create good-paying jobs.

   ARVADA, Colo. (AP) -- President Joe Biden tried to advance his domestic 
spending plans on Colorado on Tuesday by warning about climate change's dangers 
while highlighting how his clean-energy proposals would also create good-paying 
jobs.

   The trip to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Flatirons Campus 
outside Denver capped the president's two-day swing to the West, and offered 
Biden the chance to continue linking the need to pass his spending package to 
the urgent threat posed by climate change.

   "Here's the good news: Something that is caused by humans can be solved by 
humans," Biden said. He deemed the need for a clean-energy future an "economic 
imperative and a national security imperative" and said that there was no time 
to waste as the impact of climate change seems to grow more severe by the year.

   Biden said that extreme weather events will cost more than $100 billion in 
damages this year and underscored his goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050 
while using solely carbon pollution-free power 15 years earlier.

   "We can do that, we can do all of this in a way that creates good jobs, 
lowers costs to consumers and businesses and makes us global leaders," the 
president said.

   Biden spoke about "more jobs for the economy" on an earlier tour as he 
checked out a giant windmill blade on the ground outside the lab and got a 
demonstration of wind turbine technology.

   And, keenly aware of the delicate work underway back in Washington to craft 
details of his infrastructure-plus spending package, he gestured at Democratic 
legislators along for the tour and said, "They're the ones getting it all 
through Congress."

   Biden had spent Monday in Boise, Idaho, and Sacramento, California, 
receiving briefings on the devastating wildfire season and viewing the damage 
by the Caldor Fire to communities around Lake Tahoe.

   "We can't ignore the reality that these wildfires are being supercharged by 
climate change," Biden said, noting that catastrophic weather doesn't strike 
based on partisan ideology. "It isn't about red or blue states. It's about 
fires. Just fires."

   Throughout his trip, Biden held out the wildfires across the region as an 
argument for his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and additional 
$3.5 trillion package of spending. The president said every dollar spent on 
"resilience" would save $6 in future costs. And he made the case that the 
rebuilding must go beyond simply restoring damaged systems and instead ensure 
communities can withstand such crises.

   "In the end it's not about red states or blue states. A drought or a fire 
doesn't see a property line," Biden said. "It doesn't care, give a damn for 
what party you belong to ... yes, we face a crisis, but we face a crisis with 
unprecedented opportunity."

   The climate provisions in Biden's plans include tax incentives for clean 
energy and electric vehicles, investments to transition the economy away from 
fossil fuels and toward renewable sources such as wind and solar power, and 
creation of a civilian climate corps.

   Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power 
sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy overall by 2050.

   The president's two-day Western swing comes at a critical juncture for a 
central plank of his legislative agenda. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working 
to assemble details of the infrastructure-plus plan -- and how to pay for it, a 
concern not just for Republicans.

   With unified Republican opposition in Congress, Biden needs to overcome the 
skepticism of two key centrist Democrats in the closely divided Senate. Joe 
Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed concerns 
about the size of the $3.5 trillion spending package.

   In California, Biden appeared to respond to those concerned about the plan's 
size, saying the cost "may be" as much as $3.5 trillion and would be spread out 
over 10 years, a period during which the economy is expected to grow. He also 
insisted that, when it comes to addressing climate change, "we have to think 
big."

   "Thinking small is a prescription for disaster," he said.

   The 100-member Senate is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. 
Given solid GOP opposition, Biden's plan cannot pass the Senate without 
Manchin's or Sinema's support. The legislative push comes at a crucial time for 
Biden, who had seen his poll numbers tumble after the United States' tumultuous 
exit from Afghanistan and a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious 
Delta variant.

 
 
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