The Volokh Conspiracy

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Climate Change

Congressional Staffers Demand Their Bosses Enact Climate Legislation

"We've crafted the legislation necessary to avert climate catastrophe. It's time for you to pass it," proclaim staffers in a letter to Congressional leaders.


CNN reports that Congressional staffers are circulating a letter demanding that Congress enact sweeping climate legislation. The letter has been signed anonymously by over 200 staff from House and Senate offices.

From the CNN story:

In a rare move, more than 200 congressional staffers have sent a letter to Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, demanding they close the deal on a climate and clean energy package and warning that failure could doom younger generations.

"We've crafted the legislation necessary to avert climate catastrophe. It's time for you to pass it," the staffers wrote in a letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday evening. The letter, which staffers signed anonymously with initials, was shared first with CNN.

"Our country is nearing the end of a two-year window that represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass transformative climate policy," the letter continues. "The silence on expansive climate justice policy on Capitol Hill this year has been deafening. We write to distance ourselves from your dangerous inaction."

As CNN reports, letters from congressional staff telling members of Congress what to do are uncommon. From the CNN story:

Anonymous letters from congressional staffers criticizing leadership are rare—especially ones that push for specific legislation—but staff have spoken out in letters before.

In summer 2020, Black staffers penned a letter to leadership urging action in the wake of George Floyd's killing by a Minneapolis police officer. Over 400 staff members also signed a letter in December 2021 urging House leadership to condemn "incendiary rhetoric" in the workplace after Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert made anti-Muslim remarks against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Still, the bulk of letters calling on congressional leadership to act on climate in the last year have come from outside climate advocacy groups.

It is almost as if voters elected the actual members of Congress, rather than their staff.