WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden made his first trip to the West Coast since taking office on Monday, visiting Idaho, where wildfires have ravaged millions of acres.
He was there not only to assess the damage, but also to mobilize support for proposed spending for climate change initiatives.
Biden visited the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise to study some of the damage caused by 22 wildfires in Idaho.
“Five point four million acres burned,” Biden said. “It’s bigger than the whole state of New Jersey.”
He called for bold action to tackle climate change contributing to increasingly aggressive forest fires.
“The reality is we have a problem with global warming,” Biden said. “It can only get worse.”
He said his $ 3.5 billion Build Back Better plan could help.
“$ 14 billion for disaster needs, including $ 9 billion for communities affected by forest fires and drought,” he said. “We have to pass it.”
The bill also aims to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
On Capitol Hill, getting Republicans on board is always an uphill battle. They say the plan is too expensive and includes bad policies.
“It should be called a ‘build more inflation act’,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Said at a hearing Monday.
“This is a great introduction to the ‘Green New Deal’,” said Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Calling the package a Trojan horse. “It will create social injustices. This will double the price of your home utilities.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said the country was facing the growing climate crisis.
“After another summer marked by hurricanes, floods and wildfires, we cannot wait to act,” he said. “The world is looking to us for leadership on climate change. “
Biden will also travel to California and Denver to present the plan.