By Daniel Loud
On climate policy, Nicole Malliotakis has made it clear that she does not care about us. While this has been clear for some time, her recent vote against the Inflation Reduction Act—and non-existent reasoning for her vote—is further proof. In a two-year tenure full of disrespectful votes to the people of her district, Congressperson Malliotakis cast one last vote to make it clear before the election that she does not hold the interests of her constituents at heart.
Last month, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act: a sprawling bill that addresses a variety of issues from prescription drug prices to tax reform. But the IRA was especially significant on climate issues. The new law provides over $40 billion to invest in developing renewable energy, and nearly $100 billion in various tax incentives to ease the transition to clean energy and electric vehicles. Overall, the significant spending in the IRA is meant to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 40% within the next decade—a massive step forward in preventing the worst of climate change and protecting our country’s security.
The IRA is not just important for the country as a whole but will benefit Staten Island and South Brooklyn specifically. The spending and tax incentives in the IRA will address some of the 11th Congressional District’s biggest issues. It provides investment in infrastructure and public transit to fix our broken roads and provide commuters with alternatives. It provides for the development of offshore wind in areas like the New York Bight—one of the most promising areas nationwide for wind energy. And it provides incentives to create clean energy jobs that would surely come to the district as infrastructure improvements and offshore wind pick up.
The benefits of the IRA are not abstract or far off in the future. The IRA would directly help residents of this district and put money back into their pockets.
Any sensible representative would have supported the IRA and the benefits it would bring to this district. Even if they had reservations about some of the bill, it would have benefited Staten Island and South Brooklyn to have a voice at the table to advocate for increased funding for the district’s transportation and other environmental priorities.
But Congressperson Malliotakis refused to give her district the help it needed, and we’ve all lost out as a result. But why? For what reason would our representative decide to keep investment out of her own district?
Party politics, plain and simple.
Over 200 House Republicans voted against the IRA, taking a clear party stance that they would not invest in the country’s climate priorities. At the end of the day, Nicole Malliotakis refused to break from them. Even when faced with a bill that would bring direct benefits to her district, Congressperson Malliotakis refused to break rank with her party.
Staten Island and South Brooklyn deserve more than cynical party politics. They deserve more than another politician denying smart climate policy just to please her party bosses. But the damage is now done. Nicole Malliotakis has made it clear that she will put her own political interests over those of her district every time. When it comes to climate policy, her own interests are all that matter to her.
Daniel Loud is a constituent of Rep. Malliotakis and a leader in the NY-11 environmental community.