Monday, during his first trip to California since he announced his reelection campaign, President Joe Biden announced $600 million in federal funding to fight the effects of climate change after he toured a Northern California nature reserve with Governor Gavin Newsom.
The financial commitment from the president is expected only to enhance the strong political support for Biden in the Golden State and among Americans concerned about the environment. These constituencies are critical to the president’s bid for a second term.
A top rival to President Biden in the 2024 presidential race, GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, was also in California during a fundraising tour, and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a Los Angeles Juneteenth celebration — an indication of the outsize role the state may play in the election.
The Biden administration’s funding to combat climate change under the Inflation Reduction Act will support Great Lakes and coastal communities susceptible to sea level rise, flooding, storm surge, and flooding for innovative solutions to boost climate resilience. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will award the funding.
“I’ve toured many sites across the country that clearly show climate change is a genuine existential — that existential threat to humanity,” said Biden as he stood near a salt marsh at the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center in the San Francisco Bay.
The president continued to tout his administration’s work to fight climate change. Biden highlighted $2.3 billion to modernize the electric grid under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including $67.4 million provided to California.
“Throughout our history, we’re the only nation in the world that has come out of every crisis we’ve entered stronger than we went into,” said Biden. “We’re doing it again here on the climate crisis.”
Biden’s swing through California included several campaign fundraisers
President Biden’s visit to California included a slew of fundraisers hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and eBay executive and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Steve Westly, among others. Newsom is expected to co-host a fundraiser for Biden in Marin Tuesday.
“There’s simply no president in modern America history that’s done more to deliver on the promise of addressing head-on the issue of climate change, than President Joe Biden,” said Newsom Monday.
Newsom’s praise of Biden’s accomplishments and leadership in the White House adds further credence to the California governor’s vows to help the Democratic president win reelection in 2024.
For years, the governor has tried to douse speculation about his own interest in running for president, stirred both by whispers from people dissatisfied with President Biden and, more recently, Newsom’s aggressive national campaign to combat the far-right policies championed in Texas and Florida.
In March, Newsom transferred $10 million of his state campaign funds to a new federal political action committee, the “Campaign for Democracy,” he said he created to help Democrats in the 2024 election and push back on GOP leaders who “kidnap migrants,” “ban books,” and “stoke racism.”
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Newsom’s most prominent GOP critics, ventured to Sacramento Monday to raise funds for his presidential campaign. He has plans for another fundraiser Tuesday in Southern California. The Republican’s visit comes amid an ongoing public feud with Governor Newsom as California investigates his handling of flights of migrants to Sacramento earlier in the month.
GOP Assemblymember Tom Lackey attended a private breakfast at the Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento and said Gov. DeSantis focused on the “stark contrast” between Florida and California. That included referencing Florida’s record-high budget and California’s current budget deficit, said Lackey.
The governor of Florida also discussed immigration policy and “our porous border, said Lackey.
When asked Monday, Biden declined to comment on DeSantis.
However, the president didn’t shy away from talking about how his administration has helped improve the daily lives of Americans with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law passed during his first year in office.
“We’re investing in people and places that have been hit the hardest but who are also on the front lines of moving us forward,” said Biden.