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ICYMI: Young Leaders Urge Congress to Pass the Inflation Reduction Act as Soon as Possible

August 08, 2022

This weekend, young leaders who have been leading the charge on climate action and other critical issues voiced their collective support for the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it the largest climate investment by any country in world history.

In a letter, the leaders write, "it's been clear since before we were born that these problems were existential for our generations, but we'd never had leaders willing to actually stand up and pass laws that will protect us. That's why we're asking you to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and pass it as soon as possible."

Read their letter here:

Dear Members of Congress, 

Young people showed up to vote in record numbers in 2018 and 2020, putting many of you in the seats you occupy today. When we registered our friends, mobilized our community, and showed up to elect Democrats, it was because we needed our leaders to have our backs – to recognize that climate change, racial injustice, economic inequality, and our broken health care and immigration systems disproportionately harm young people, especially young people of color. It's been clear since before we were born that these problems were existential for our generations, but we'd never had leaders willing to actually stand up and pass laws that will protect us.

That's why we're asking you to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and pass it as soon as possible. We simply cannot wait any longer to begin meaningful investments to transition our economy towards addressing our generation's greatest collective challenge — the climate crisis.

To be clear: this bill is not enough. Even with including the climate investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the Inflation Reduction Act's ~$370 billion in climate investments and projected 40% emissions reductions below 2005 levels fall far short of the $2 trillion dollars in climate investments Biden and Democrats ran and were elected on in 2020, and the 50 to 52% reduction goal President Biden committed us to on the world stage. More importantly than that, the bill's projected emissions reductions are significantly less than the 70 to over 100% of emissions reductions independent analysts have determined would be a United States fair share contribution that would give the world a fighting chance at preserving a livable planet for ours and future generations. The Inflation Reduction Act also lacks some key programs and provisions included in previous legislative proposals which would have disproportionately served our generation, like the Civilian Climate Corps, significant funding for greening our schools and building green affordable housing, and other provisions to advance racial and environmental justice, reform our immigration system, and more. Perhaps most devastatingly, in the legislative deal to secure a 50th Senate vote, the bill opens the door to further expansion of fossil fuels in the Gulf, Appalachia, and elsewhere around the country — when conservative modelers have said for years that we need to stop building all new fossil fuel infrastructure.  We know Congress and the White House must do much more. 

Pass this bill, but don't pat yourselves on the back. Though it's flawed and not enough, this would still constitute the largest climate investment by any country in world history. That's a start, but it's still less than what our generation deserves. As young people, we're often called unrealistic or na?ve for demanding the world as it should be, rather than accepting the world as it is. After a year and a half of negotiation, this bill is what can pass the Senate right now, and its passage can give us a better chance of winning the next climate fights ahead. So, we are accepting that, right now — this is the world as it is. But we are not giving up on the world as it should be, and neither can you. We believe this bill must pass, but we refuse to accept that this is the end of the road for Congress' responsibility to make our generations safe from the ravages of a warmer world. This must only be the beginning. Your work is not finished. We will keep demanding the world as it should be, and we need you, our elected representatives who we put into office and delivered Democratic majorities for, to join us in fighting for and delivering that world.

Let's pass this bill, then let's get back to work to deliver the future young people deserve.

Signed,

Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement 
Alexandria Villaseñor, Earth Uprising International
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, NextGen America
Santiago Mayer, Executive Director, Voters of Tomorrow
Rep. Greta Neubauer, Minority Leader, Wisconsin State Assembly
Dakota Hall, Executive Director, Alliance for Youth Action
Maxwell Frost, Candidate for Congress, FL-10
Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, United We Dream Action
Aidan Kohn-Murphy, Founder and Executive Director, Gen-Z for Change
Marcella Mulholland, Data for Progress
Xiye Bastinda, Co-Founder, Re-Earth Initiative
Jerome Foster II, Co-Founder, Waic Up
Elise Joshi, Gen-Z for Change
Julian Noisecat
Zander Moricz, Executive Director and Founder, The Social Equity and Education Initiative   
Ava Mateo, Executive Director, 18by Vote
Ryan Yeager, Policy Director, Voters of Tomorrow
Samir Chowdhury, Founder & Chairman, Youth Climate Action Team
Morgan Stahr, Blue Future
Rosie Couture, Generation Ratify
Sam Weinberg, Path to Progress
Emanuelle Sippy, Future Coalition, Kentucky Student Voice Team
Nick Guthman, Blue Future
Trevor Wild, March for Our Lives
John Paul Mejia, Sunrise Movement
Edgar McGregor, Environmental Activist 
Kevin J Patel, Executive Director and Founder, OneUpAction International
Ayisha Siddiqa, Co-Founder, Polluters Out
Jade Begay, Tesuque Pueblo/Diné
Tharina Oris, Maxwell Frost for Congress
Daniel Sherrell
Sam Wasserman
Rayanne Anid
Amanda Schuerman
Evelyn Bigini, Earth Uprising
Eddie Monroy
Zak Malamed
Duy Pham
Dejah Powell, Sunrise Movement
Sean Wiggs, Digital Strategist, Gen-Z for Change

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Young Leaders Urge Congress to Pass the Inflation Reduction Act as Soon as Possible Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/357196

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