The ignoble attempt to dethrone Jamaal Bowman

Bowman’s climate record stands in stark contrast to that complacent attitude. Moreover, in a political moment when environmental measures are so often vulnerable to populist criticism — eager to emphasize how anything to do with climate brings inconvenience and cost to ordinary Americans — Bowman has consistently focused on climate policies that impact the lives of working class better. .

Shortly after his election in 2020, Bowman launched a campaign to pass a Green New Deal for public schools, to address dangerously dilapidated public school infrastructure while using public money to build green buildings and green energy. That campaign built important coalitions between parents, environmentalists and union workers. Much of the GND for Public Schools language is included in the Build Back Better Act, Biden’s climate and infrastructure legislation that passed the House of Representatives in late 2021 but was ultimately undermined by Joe Manchin. Even after all the impasses and machinations, some of it ended up in the Inflation Reduction Act. In fact, Bowman was instrumental in the adoption of the IRA itself; after Joe Manchin walked away from the Build Back Better discussions, Bowman co-wrote a letter to President Biden with centrist Democrats Sean Casten and Nikema Williamssigned by 89 members of Congress – calling on him to resume negotiations with Manchin, using climate as a common ground. Shortly thereafter, Biden reopened talks with Manchin, and the IRA was ultimately passed, including some of Build Back Better’s climate provisions. Despite shortcomings, the IRA was the most important climate legislation the United States has ever passed.

Unusually for a congressman, Bowman was also crucial in passing New York State’s biggest climate legislation last year: the Build Public Renewables Act, or BPRA, requires the state’s power authority to build publicly funded renewable energy in the inevitable event that the private sector is not on track to achieve its low-carbon economy targets. (These state-level goals for decarbonizing the economy were established in 2019, but until BPRA, New York had no plan in place to address the market’s more-than-likely inability to move beyond fossil fuels on its own.) Bowman used his powerful position as a congressman to lobby state lawmakers, especially Assembly and Senate leadership, to pass the bill. After the passage of the IRA, he also made practical arguments to the governor about how passage of the BPRA would give New York access to crucial federal funds.

Back To Top