The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package will create a “Civilian Climate Corps.”
As The Daily Wire reported in June, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) pushed Democratic leadership to pass the “Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act” using the reconciliation process — a method by which Congress can enact budget bills with a simple majority in the Senate instead of a sixty-vote, filibuster-proof majority.
Democratic leaders are currently relying upon this strategy to pass much of President Biden’s agenda — including portions of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — due to the divided nature of the Senate.
According to an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the reconciliation plan will address climate change through Ocasio-Cortez’s bill:
Perhaps most important, we will begin the process of shifting our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy to combat the existential threat of climate change. This effort will include a nationwide clean-energy standard that moves our transportation system, electrical generation, buildings and agriculture toward clean energy. We will also create a Civilian Climate Corps, which will hire hundreds of thousands of young people to protect our natural resources and fight against climate change.
The “Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act” would carry a $70 billion price tag between 2021 and 2025. According to a press release, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s bill would hire a “diverse and equitable” group of 1.5 million young Americans to “complete federally-funded projects that help communities respond to climate change and transition to a clean economy.”
The bill would guarantee salaries between $25,000 and $50,000 for “corpsmembers.”
“The CCC would put 1.5 million young people to work strengthening our communities and preserving our lands — doing everything from remediating blight and maintaining trails to creating entirely new green spaces,” remarked Ocasio-Cortez in the release. “The program also provides the support needed to turn this work into a career path — including childcare, eldercare and tax-free educational grants to be used for student loan debt payments or higher education.”
The Civilian Climate Corps would also employ “explicit antiracist language,” prioritize “labor groups,” and enact “tribal sovereignty protections.”
The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion package — which, by some estimates, may truly cost as much as $5.5 trillion — may not pass due to opposition from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who hesitates to endorse the bill due to its high price tag.
“I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion — and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead,” Sinema said in a statement to The Arizona Republic.