(JustPatriots.com)- A lot of focus right now in Washington is on the Democrat-backed infrastructure bill the Senate is trying to push through without any support from Republicans.
But, what follows that bill is likely to be an even more progressive spending bill that will include a New Deal-style program that will employ thousands of people to address climate change.
Officials from the White House have said they intend to establish what will be called the Civilian Climate Corps, and it’s a “must-have” in President Joe Biden’s first spending bill. Thus far, it’s an extremely popular proposal among both progressive and more moderate Democrats, and is being backed by Gina McCarthy, the national climate adviser.
The Corps will be modeled after programs established under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s that employed millions of people to improve parks, forests and other public lands throughout the U.S. Instead of revamping public lands, though, Biden’s Corps will fight against climate change.
Some of the things the government will employ people to do will be retrofitting homes so they are more energy efficient, installing solar panels on rooftops, restoring the habitats of coastal environments, and managing lands in forest to try to prevent wildfires from happening.
Right now, the Biden administration is proposing to set aside $10 billion for the program. Many in the Democratic Party, though, believe that’s far too little for what the program really needs.
Mark Paul, who works for the New College of Florida as an assistant professor of economics and environmental studies, says the amount Biden is proposing would employ about 25,000 people every year for the next five years. That would make it roughly 1/16th of the size of FDR’s programs, when adjusted for total population in the U.S.
Other lawmakers are proposing a much more expansive, and expensive, plan. Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, for example, want to spend $130 billion on the Civilian Climate Corps.
Paul says that amount would employ roughly 1.5 million people over that same five-year timeframe.
AOC commented on her thinking when she said recently:
“Sometimes, when folks say, ‘Oh, this is too ambitious,’ or, ‘This is too big, and it’s too unreasonable,’ then we reiterate that this world that we’re fighting for has already been here. The FDA-era program employed over 2 million Americans in less than 10 years. A quarter-million young men were mobilized three months after it was created.”
What Biden has to do, though, is find some ground where he can actually get his proposal passed through Congress. Already included in his climate plans are $300 billion for clean energy tax credits as well as requiring utility companies to be carbon-free by 2035.
The president is already having a hard time getting all members of his own party on board with those plans, let alone an extremely expensive New Era-type Climate Corps.