Washington, D.C. – Today, Congress passed a compromise debt limit deal in which President Biden conceded to harmful conservative demands, while Progressives in Congress and community leaders were shut out of negotiations. The bill passed by the House would increase profits for defense and fossil fuel corporations while cutting food, healthcare, and education programs that benefit communities of color, low-income families, and frontline neighborhoods.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act continues our country’s dangerous trajectory of funding defense and fossil fuel expenditures, defunding the IRS which lets tax evaders and corporations off the hook, and whittling down investments that keep working families safe and healthy. The bill:
- Revives the toxic and costly Mountain Valley Pipeline — fossil fuel-baron Sen. Joe Manchin’s pet project that has been stalled for 5 years — through backdoor permit approvals, which will accelerate the climate crisis and pollute adjacent communities.
- Reduces NEPA timelines for environmental impact assessments, compromising the quality of crucial assessments and community input on the safety of projects.
- Cuts funding to programs that support low-income and working families including that it claws back pandemic relief money, halts future student loan pauses, and places imposes work requirements on SNAP beneficiaries who didn’t previously face them.
- Freezes non-defense discretionary funding at a time when inflation is skyrocketing, effectively resulting in significant cuts to government investments that working families need.
In response to the House vote in Congress passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Green New Deal Network members share:
“Extremist Republicans held our economy and planet hostage while they devised a plan to push flagrantly racist policies,” said Kaniela Ing, National Director at the Green New Deal Network. “This harmful agreement is not what America needs. We need leaders with the political will to expand public investments that keep our communities and planet safe and healthy – not an agreement negotiated on the backs of working families and people of color to serve billionaires and corrupt politicians.”
“Once again frontline communities, who are most impacted by the fossil fuel industry and the climate crisis they fueled, are being sacrificed in the debt ceiling negotiations. Furthermore, politicians are using the real needs of poor and working class people who rely on government funding to rush and attach poison pills, like supporting the Mountain Valley Pipeline and gutting NEPA, to a debt ceiling bill,” said Ozawa Bineshi Albert, Climate Justice Alliance, Co-Executive Director. “We need a clean debt ceiling bill. We need an open and public debate of what positive permitting reform could look like. Our communities demand and deserve a just and community centered renewable energy future now.”
“Joe Biden’s dirty debt ceiling deal with Republicans sells out the health, safety, and well-being of Black and Indigenous people, communities of color, and the working-class. Unconscionable provisions like greenlighting Manchin’s Mountain Valley Pipeline and attacking hungry families irreversibly harms frontline communities, entrenching us into an extractive economy that sacrifices people and kills the planet. Congress and the administration cannot allow the most vulnerable among us — including people on food stamps, students, and youth — to be bartered by racist extremists and climate denying profiteers for a problem we did not create. We need the Senate to pass a clean debt ceiling bill to protect communities now and for generations to come,” said Cindy Wiesner, Executive Director of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.
“The entirely manufactured compromise of our present and future interest in a habitable planet comes at the cost of community everywhere. The only thing that partisan leadership could settle on is its unchecked addiction to fossil fuels at every turn and to serve up the aging, the rural and urban poor, students and every possible Black community that relies on hard won legal protections that defend against systemic disadvantages,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin of The Black Hive at the Movement for Black Lives. “No community is safe in an unregulated market scheme where dollars are voices and vulnerable people are treated as pawns in a game where mountains, soil, clean water and breathable air are secondary to pipeline, oil and gas extenders, adders and loopholes the size of states. We were promised a clean deal and were delivered a stacked deck.”
Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement said,””The debt ceiling deal is a dangerous negotiation with extremists and Big Oil, at the expense of people’s lives. It makes life harder for working people, pollutes our air and water, and lets billionaires get away with not paying their fair share of taxes. President Biden and the Democratic party should know this is the type of decision that makes young people disillusioned and defeated about the state of our politics – and they need to govern in our interests if they want to energize our generation to get out to vote.”
“Backroom deals to gut our bedrock environmental protections at the expense of frontline communities have been defeated three times before. Now, while holding the country hostage in debt ceiling negotiations, the House GOP is putting the interest of the fossil fuel industry over the people of the United States,” said Alice Madden, Policy and Political Director at Greenpeace USA. “And breaking his own promises, President Biden capitulated to these extremist demands and is embracing a polluter’s wish list. In truth, none of these harsh measures belong in a bill to raise the debt ceiling. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 times to permanently raise, extend, or revise the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.
“We are fighting for stronger, healthier communities where everyone has what they need to thrive, regardless of race, ZIP code, or background. We will not forget that Speaker McCarthy manufactured this debt ceiling crisis to reward corporate lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry and drive the same old cruel, greed-driven agenda: putting corporate profits and fossil fuel companies over the wellbeing of our communities,” said Sulma Arias, Executive Director of People’s Action.
On behalf of US Mobilizing for Urgent and Sustainable Transformation (USMUST), “It’s hopeful that dozens of House members took a stance against the poison pills in this bill that undermine environmental justice, working families, and the climate,” said Jean Su, energy justice program director at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund. “Biden has allowed Sen. Manchin and Republicans to hold the government hostage to ram through the climate-killing Mountain Valley Pipeline, dramatically roll back bedrock environmental laws that give voice to frontline communities and sabotage agencies whose job is to protect the environment and working families. Senators should reject these poison pills and pass a clean debt ceiling bill.”
About the Green New Deal Network
The Green New Deal Network is a nationwide network of organizations committed to transforming our politics and economy with policies that address the climate crisis, that create good, union jobs, and that repair past harm and advance justice. The Network includes coalitions in 25 states, as well as a coordinating team of 14 national organizations: Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, People’s Action, Right To The City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, Sunrise Movement, US Climate Action Network, and the Working Families Party.