Health and Human Services climate office has no funding – The Washington Post

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Climate Change

Listen7 minComment on this storyCommentGift ArticleA week after taking office, President Biden signed a sweeping executive order that established a new federal office focused on addressing the health consequences of climate change, which disproportionately affects poor communities and communities of color.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.“Many climate and health calamities are colliding all at once,” Biden said at the time, adding, “Just like we need a unified national response to covid-19, we desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis.”AdvertisementBut nearly a year after the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, Congress has not provided any funding, forcing it to operate without any full-time staff at a time of worsening climate disasters across the country, according to interviews with four officials there.Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster last summer“Right now, it is an unfunded office,” said Adm. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health. “What we really need is funding to have a permanent staff.”In his budget plan released in March, Biden requested $3 million to support eight full-time positions in the climate office. 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.AdvertisementHowever, 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. That has fostered apprehension among officials in the climate office.“Funding isn’t final until it’s final,” said a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of a lack of authorization to comment publicly.Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, accused Democrats on Thursday of using the spending bills 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.Advertisement“Senate Democrats’ bills seek to use the appropriations process to advance radical environmental and climate policies,” Shelby said in a statement, citing proposals to subsidize the solar industry and curb emissions of metha …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This