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Lawmakers divided over climate change proposals in infrastructure package

·Chief Political Correspondent
·2 min read

A group of bipartisan senators are attempting to hammer out an infrastructure agreement after talks between Senate Republicans and the White House collapsed earlier this week — but some progressives are warning against an infrastructure package without climate change provisions.

"No climate, no deal," tweeted Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) on Thursday.

Rep. Petter Meijer (R., Mich.) is part of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which proposed its own infrastructure framework on Wednesday, after talks broke down. In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Meijer warned against including "unrelated priorities" in an infrastructure bill, while noting the bipartisan framework includes money for electric cars and buses.

"To an extent, you can link everything together if you're creative enough with your rhetoric," said Meijer. "We will be pouring concrete as part of this infrastructure plan — we should be focused on what that is, and not trying to just stretch these definitions past anything a dictionary might find even remotely plausible."

Democratic lawmakers have argued the United States must focus on fighting climate change and transitioning to clean energy as it overhauls the nation's infrastructure. They make the case the two issues can't be separated. Republicans make the case that an infrastructure package should largely be focused on traditional, physical projects and expanding broadband.

"To me, that what draws the line is what supports and underpins our economy and our functioning as a country," said Meijer.

"I do not like omnibus efforts that try to wrap everything together and make it harder to focus on how they're actually going to be impactful," he added. "I believe that climate change is a real and pressing threat to this country."

Lawmakers also have serious disagreements over how they want to pay for an infrastructure package, which will make a bipartisan agreement difficult.

Jessica Smith is chief political correspondent for Yahoo Finance, based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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