AOC calls for ‘wartime’ effort to beat climate change, urges taxpayer-funded ‘climate corps’

AOC calls for a ‘wartime mobilization’ to beat climate change in announcing a 1.5 million-member civilian climate corps that could cost taxpayers $10 billion

  • House and Senate Democrats pledged today that funding for a civilian climate corps will be included in the upcoming budget reconciliation bill
  • Majority leader Schumer vowed to get ‘biggest, boldest CCC possible’
  • Ocasio-Cortez said half of the money would go to helping urban areas
  • Funding for the initiative would be part of Dems’ massive $3.5 trillion budget
  • Dems want CCC members to get at least $15 an hour plus benefits
  • AOC said roles within the Climate Corps would be ‘good union jobs’
  • She also said the program would be “even bigger and better” than the FDR’s historic climate corps created in 1933 to provide relief during the Depression.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for a “war-scale” effort to fight climate change in a news conference where progressive lawmakers promised money for a 1.5 million-strong “climate corps” will be included in Democrats’ appeasement bill.

“The question isn’t just whether we’re going to do it, but how — how big, how ambitious?” the New York Democrat said Tuesday morning. “Our climate crisis today requires peaceful but war-scale mobilization to combat the climate crisis.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who opened the press conference, said he would “make sure” the climate corps is part of Democrats’ overwhelming $3.5 trillion budget bill.

“I will fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible,” said Schumer.

Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez called for ‘a peaceful but war-scale mobilization to combat the climate crisis’ during a press conference Tuesday morning

Ocasio-Cortez joined House and Senate Democrats to announce funding for a 1.5 million strong 'Climate Corps' would be included in an upcoming budget reconciliation bill — but whether it will match President's original $10 billion price tag Biden for the program is unclear

Ocasio-Cortez joined House and Senate Democrats to announce funding for a 1.5 million strong ‘Climate Corps’ would be included in an upcoming budget reconciliation bill — but whether it will match President’s original $10 billion price tag Biden for the program is unclear

Majority leader Chuck Schumer pledged to use his leadership role to 'fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible'

Majority leader Chuck Schumer pledged to use his leadership role to ‘fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible’

President Biden included $10 billion for a civilian climate protection corps in his original $2 trillion US jobs plan, which struggled to gain Republican support.

Ocasio-Cortez outlined an ambitious scope for how far the money should go.

She promised that half of the CCC’s funds — which could be as much as $5 billion — would go “to make sure this doesn’t just go to our national parks and fund the members of the Climate Corps to our national parks, but also to urban communities to face environmental injustices.’

She added that the millions of new positions would be “good union jobs.”

Senate Democrats hope the reconciliation budget, which would allow them to evade GOP support, could fulfill part of Biden's wish list with a 51-50 vote majority

Senate Democrats hope the reconciliation budget, which would allow them to evade GOP support, could fulfill part of Biden’s wish list with a 51-50 vote majority

The initiative would recruit 1,500,000 members by 2015 to “complete key projects across the country to address the climate crisis,” according to the Senate Democrats’ Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act.

Legislators aim for a minimum wage of $15 per hour plus benefits. For the rest, filling roles in the service sector are notorious for their low compensation, such as AmeriCorps, where employees are seen more as volunteers who receive a stipend and are encouraged, because they are paid so little, to sign up for food stamps.

The CCC is part of a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget balancing bill full of progressive priorities.

Under mounting pressure to pass infrastructure spending and with little support from Republicans, Senate Democrats hope to pass a reconciliation budget that will bypass GOP lawmakers and reach Biden’s wish list with a 51-50 majority.

“I think the great thing about reconciliation is that it’s not an ‘either/or’ statement, but a ‘yes, and?’ proposal,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“This is not a fantasy, and this is not a big, progressive vision that is ‘unrealistic’ – this is what we’ve already done.”

Ocasio-Cortez said the program would be

Ocasio-Cortez said the program would be “bigger and better” than the original CCC, created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 (pictured at a June 28 climate conference)

The idea behind the CCC is modeled after the first civilian climate corps, founded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 during the Great Depression.

The program employed about 3 million young men to help build roads, dams, fight wildfires and respond to natural disasters across the country. Its nine-year run was interrupted by World War II.

But Democrats hinted at bigger plans for the program’s revival.

“Our mandate today is not just to revive some of the most ambitious programs and ideas, but a lot of this is about how we go even bigger and better than we originally did,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

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