MANCHESTER, N.H. – Local and state officials gathered outside of Manchester City Hall on Friday and asked U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to urge their colleagues to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 due to components of the bill that address climate change.
The various officials stressed the urgency of climate change measures discussed in the bill, which is a modified version of an earlier bill prioritizing all of U.S. President Joe Biden’s policy goals called the Build Back Better Act.
Senate Democrats claim that the Act will invest approximately $369 billion in energy security and climate change measures as well $64 million in healthcare investments as well as $739 billion in new revenue by closing tax loopholes and other tax reforms that will go toward budget deficit reduction.
The economic impact of investment in climate change-related initiatives was the one of the key topics discussed by the officials.
“Combating climate change at a national level is a critical goal, but we should recognize that this bill will provide tangible economic relief to our communities and constituents,” said New Hampshire House Democratic Floor Leader Manny Espitia of Nashua. “This bill would work across the board to reduce the cost of energy, resulting in real savings for Granite Staters doing their best to weather inflation and economic turbulence. The science and the economic data are clear. This is the right thing to do for both the immediate and long-term financial health and public health of our communities.”
In regard to the name of the bill itself, the officials noted the impact of inflation on more carbon-intensive fuels, such as natural gas.
Health risks faced by those living near coal power plants were also mentioned by the officials as well as direct health risks overall from higher temperatures impacting older Americans suffering with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Indirect risks from higher temperatures noted included greater pollen and tick prevalence, creating more asthma and Lyme Disease cases, respectively.
Manchester Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart also noted the impact of climate change on local hydrological systems, which has placed increased pressure on sewer infrastructure in his part of Manchester.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced a vote on the bill scheduled for Saturday. The bill was sent to the Senate through what is known as the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority to avoid a filibuster.
However, the Senate Parliamentarian still needs to determine whether the reconciliation process can be used for this particular legislation. If reconciliation is ruled out, at least ten Republican votes will be needed.
State Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) believed that became necessary, Shaheen and Hassan are ready to work with their Republican colleagues.
“(Hassan and Shaheen) got to where they are because they’re excellent negotiators and committed and driven to ensuring the best results for the people of New Hampshire,” said Soucy. “So, if anyone can reach across the aisle and ensure that consensus is built and that we get this bill passed, I believe our U.S. Senators can do that.”