What to Know in Washington: Retiring Trio Focuses On Environment

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A trio of Democrats are seeking to build environmental legacies on promoting clean energy, access to clean water, and combating climate change.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (Del.) and panel members Ben Cardin (Md.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) — each with 18 months before their announced retirements — have played prominent roles on policies, such as crafting the federal response to the Flint, Mich., water crisis in 2015. The panel has also been at the center of historic levels of spending for clean energy, water, climate, and infrastructure projects in the past two years.

Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Ranking member Shelley Moore Capito talks to Chair Tom Carper before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee budget hearing in 2022.

Environmental groups and other lawmakers hope any successors can continue to maintain the panel’s reputation of working across the aisle. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), who has turned his perch atop the Budget Committee to focus on climate issues, is one to watch for the top Democratic spot — though a lot can change in 18 months.

Political headwinds will test the panel’s comity next year as 34 Senate seats come up for election, 23 of them held by Democrats or independents. The GOP needs a net gain of two seats to take control of the chamber, or one seat if a Republican wins the White House.

In the meantime, the retiring trio has a long to-do list.

While Stabenow is focused on the biennial Water Resources Development Act, which funds Army Corps of Engineers’ projects and drinking and wastewater programs, Carper has cited oversight over the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58) and Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act (Public Law 117-169) among his top priorities. He also sees as paramount passing bipartisan legislation to improve permitting for clean energy initiatives, and says any permitting overhaul must have input from disadvantaged communities.

Cardin is focused on sustaining the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and ensuring Americans, particularly those with low incomes, can get safe drinking water. Read the full story from Kellie Lunney.

US, China Seek Thaw on Climate as World Bakes Under Extreme Heat

On the global climate front, US climate envoy John Kerry was resolute as he sat across from his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Monday: The global warming crisis “cannot be solved” without both nations working together, he said. For his part, Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua cast the talks as a chance to pursue “substantial” outcomes. Simply the resumption of regular US-China dialogue on climate would be a step forward, experts say.

It also would inject momentum into global climate talks four months before the critical COP28 summit in Dubai. From the 2015 Paris Agreement to a global pact in Glasgow six years later, almost every major recent diplomatic achievement on climate has come only after a US-China pronouncement paved the way.

While talks got underway, some 84 million Americans were under heat warnings and advisories, and Chinese state media reported the Xinjiang region had logged its hottest-ever temperature. Jennifer A. Dlouhy recaps Kerry’s meetings.


  • Shortly after 1 p.m., President Joe Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
  • Around 5 p.m., Biden will discuss the war in Ukraine with Cardinal Matteo Zuppi.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a briefing at 1:30 p.m.


  • The House is back at noon to vote on terminating national emergencies.
  • The Senate returns at 3 p.m. to vote on nominations and work on the annual defense policy bill.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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