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In the beginning, there was nothing. Then there were climate plans.
For over a decade, the federal government has done next to nothing to address one of the biggest issues of our time — a planet, coated in carbon pollution, that is steadily heating up. But after years of President Donald Trump gutting environmental laws and intra-party bickering, Democrats have suddenly released a deluge of plans aimed at tackling climate change. House Democrats have a climate plan. Joe Biden has a climate plan. A group of activists and policy wonks called the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” have a climate plan.
The attack of the plans, as we might call it, is partly because it’s an election year, and everyone wants a say in the administration to come. The new proposals are as wide-ranging as they are ambitious: The House Climate Plan, for example, clocks in at 538 pages and covers everything from upgrading the country’s internet to partnering with Native American tribes to jump-start clean energy. Biden hopes to spend $2 trillion on green programs and cut emissions from the electricity sector to zero by 2035.
But amid all the excitement over these actual, tangible plans, Democrats might need a reality check: Could any of these plans truly become law during a Biden administration? The answer may have to do with some ancient Senate rules — and a future president’s willingness to buck them.