Democrats Pull Plug on Appropriations Funding for HHS Climate Change Office

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks outside of the Democratic National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and others called on the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden to take bold action on issues of climate change and economic inequalities. …
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks outside of the Democratic National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and others called on the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden to take bold action on issues of climate change and economic inequalities. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As Congress attempts to pass an appropriations bill that includes $7.6 billion to fight so-called climate change, funding for an office to address that issue at Health and Human Services was pulled from the bill at the last minute.

But the lack of funds to staff or run the office has been the case since Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order one week after taking office that included in his budget plan $3 million to support eight full-time positions in the HHS climate office.

“Right now, it is an unfunded office,” Adm. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said. “What we really need is funding to have a permanent staff.”

The left-wing Washington Post reported on the climate change funding, stating, without evidence, that it would “eliminate the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years while guaranteeing well-paying jobs for all.”

The Post reported:

The government funding package that passed the House last week would deliver the full $3 million. So would the spending bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee unveiled on Thursday. However, the government spending bills that lawmakers released last year also included $3 million for the climate office — until that money was stripped from the legislation at the last minute as part of an agreement brokered behind the scenes.

The administration had grand plans for the office. For the first time, it would marshal the full powers of the federal government to help Americans sweltering under deadly heat waves, breathing in dangerous wildfire smoke, fleeing from massive flooding and struggling to access clean drinking water amid a historic drought parching the West.

Without full-time staff, the climate office has been loaned detailees from other federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. But those employees could be recalled back to their home agencies if the office does not receive funding in the coming months.

“Funding isn’t final until it’s final,” an unidentified Health and Human Services official said in the Post report.

The Post reported Republicans criticized the move, including Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He said Democrats are using the spending bill to pursue the Green New Deal, the liberal proposal to eliminate the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years while “guaranteeing well-paying jobs for all.”

“Senate Democrats’ bills seek to use the appropriations process to advance radical environmental and climate policies,” Shelby said in a statement.

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