Full Committee Markup of Reconciliation Budget Plan

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Sep 2021 14:00:00 GMT

On Thursday, September 2, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. EDT via Cisco Webex and livestreamed on the Committee’s YouTube page, the Committee on Natural Resources will meet to consider legislative proposals to comply with the reconciliation directive included in section 2002 of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, S. Con. Res.14.

At the markup, the Committee will decide on provisions in the bill that will raise revenue and protect American taxpayers from unnecessary industry subsidies and giveaways.

The markup is expected to include:
  • $3 billion to support the Civilian Climate Corps through the Department of the Interior
  • $1 billion for tribal climate resilience and adaptation
  • $900 million for national wildfire management
  • $500 million for a unique Tribal Civilian Climate Corps
  • $225 million for climate resilience and restoration
  • $100 million for mitigating climate-induced weather events
  • $100 million for tribal wildfire management
  • $2.7 billion for overdue Indian water rights settlements
  • $2.5 billion to clean up abandoned hardrock mines and redevelop them for productive use
  • $2 billion for health facility construction, maintenance, and improvement in Indian Country
  • $993 million for hospitals and health infrastructure in U.S. territories
  • $500 million for tribal housing improvements

Download the bill text here.

With "No Double-Dip" Deal, Biden Has Quietly Acquiesced To Enormous Climate Justice Cuts In Infrastructure Plans

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 31 Aug 2021 19:20:00 GMT


Pres. Biden announces bipartisan infrastructure deal with eight of the 21 white U.S. Senators who negotiated the package.
With the so-called “no double-dip” rule, President Biden and 21 senators have negotiated a deal on the Build Back Better agenda that threatens several of his major climate and racial justice initiatives. The senators, all of whom are white, protected industry priorities in their deal.

At risk include programs for restoring minority neighborhoods cleaved by racially unjust highway projects, cut 96 percent, and for replacing all the lead water pipes in the nation, cut 67 percent.

In May, Biden proposed $6 trillion in public investment ($5 trillion in new spending) over ten years, in the form of the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, a $1.9 trillion American Families Plan, and about $1.5 trillion more in other spending.

Biden’s proposed plan was significantly smaller than that advocated by Green New Dealers, who called for $10 trillion in spending over ten years to build a just and sustainable economy.

After months of Senate negotiations, Biden’s plan was cut down to about $4.5 trillion, broken into two legislative components – a $1 trillion ($550 billion in new spending) bipartisan “physical infrastructure” package passed by the Senate by a filibuster-proof majority, and a $3.5-trillion reconciliation package intended to pass with only Democratic votes.

The bipartisan package is a fully detailed bill, while the reconciliation package, at least publicly, remains a top-level skeleton that remains to be fleshed out.

The bipartisan package includes nearly the full amounts requested by Biden for traditional fossil-fuel-intensive infrastructure: $110 billion for roads and bridges, $25 billion for airports, and $17 billion for waterways and ports. In addition, there is $16 billion to bail out oil and gas companies to clean up their abandoned wells.

The “double-dip” deal is this: any initiative which received any monies in the bipartisan package cannot receive more in the reconciliation package. As Politico reported on June 30:
The president said something really important the other day and nobody noticed. At his press conference celebrating the bipartisan infrastructure deal, Joe Biden suggested there would be no coming back for seconds: When it comes to spending on basic physical infrastructure (for roads, bridges, public transportation, etc.), the bipartisan deal is it. There will be no using the parallel, Democrats-only reconciliation package to spend more on those things than Republicans agreed to.

Instead, Biden indicated, the reconciliation bill is exclusively for stuff that Democrats want but Republicans oppose — like spending for family care, climate change and health care.

This may seem like a minor point, but it has big implications. On the left, some progressives have argued that they would simply add to the reconciliation bill anything that wasn’t fully funded in the bipartisan bill. That’s not happening. Biden wanted $157 billion for electric vehicles. The bipartisan bill spends $15 billion. He wanted $100 billion for broadband, and he secured $65 billion. From the White House’s perspective, these issues are now resolved and the reconciliation bill can’t be used to take another crack at them.

We checked with the White House, and officials confirmed that this interpretation is correct.

On the right, some conservatives have argued that voting for the bipartisan deal is pointless because Democrats will simply take what they can get from Republicans on highway spending or airports and then get the rest in the reconciliation bill.

But what’s actually happening is that the bipartisan bill is serving as a brake on what Biden can spend on core infrastructure.

In July, the Senate’s bipartisan package whittled $2.6 billion of Biden’s planned new spending down to $550 billion. Left out completely were major components of Biden’s plan that likely will be taken up in the reconciliation package, including housing, schools, clean energy tax credits, and home and community-based care.

However, because of the “no double-dip” deal Biden and the Senate negotiators made, the following programs face massive cuts that can’t be restored unless the deal is broken:
  • Reconnecting minority communities cut off by highway projects, cut 96% from $24 billion to $1 billion
  • Replacing the nation’s lead pipes, cut 67% from $45 billion to $15 billion
  • Investing in electric school buses, cut 87% from $20 billion to $2.5 billion
  • Repairing and modernizing public transit, cut 54% from $85 billion to $39 billion
  • Building electric vehicle charging stations, cut 50% from $15 billion to $7.5 billion
  • Upgrading and modernizing America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, cut 46% from $56 billion to $30 billion
  • Road safety, including “vision zero” programs to protect pedestrians, cut 45% from $20 billion to $11 billion
  • Broadband infrastructure, cut 35% from $100 billion to $65 billion
  • Investing in passenger and freight rail, cut 18% from $80 billion to $66 billion

This overall cut of nearly half of $441 billion in proposed spending disproportionately targets the urban and rural poor and minority “environmental justice” communities, despite the Biden administration’s stated plans of achieving justice through intentional spending. Biden’s plan was about one-third of what Green New Deal advocates have said is needed for these initiatives.

The Green New Deal Network, a coalition of over 100 organizations, is advocating for the restoration of these funds.

House Transportation Committee chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is intending to challenge the “no double-dip” deal for programs under his jurisdiction, including high-speed rail, connecting neighborhoods, and water systems.

In contrast, the all-white team of 21 U.S. Senators who crafted this deal, led by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), approved Biden’s requested spending levels for highways, airports, waterways, and major bailouts for industrial polluters responsible for chemical and fracking cleanups.

2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill H.R. 4502 Amendment Deadline

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 21 Jul 2021 21:00:00 GMT

Rules Committee Print of H.R. 4502, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, Rural Development, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2022

The deadline for amendments is 5 pm.

  • Division A (Labor, Health and Human Services, Education)
  • Division B (H.R. 4356 – Agriculture, Rural Development) – Committee Report
  • Division C (Energy and Water Development)
  • Division D (H.R. 4345 – Financial Services and General Government) – Committee Report
  • Division E (H.R. 4372 – Interior, Environment) – Committee Report
  • Division F (H.R. 4355 – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs) – Committee Report
  • Division G (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development)

Go Bigger! - Green New Deal Network Press Event

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 20 Jul 2021 18:30:00 GMT

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Melanie Stansbury, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Andy Levin and other members of Congress will join Green New Deal Network organizational principals, community leaders, and allies to push for Congress to “Go Bigger to Meet the Need” on climate, jobs, and justice.

“We are concerned that a $3.5 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan will not sufficiently tackle challenges, from extreme weather disasters to access to public transit and dignified care employment. After the Senate budget committee announced its proposal on July 13, eyes have turned to the House, which is developing its own approach, with an opportunity to go bigger to ensure the level of investment meets the need.”

RSVP

Where: Union Square, (area 15 of US Capitol), 3rd Street NW b/w Constitution and Independence Avenues, Washington, DC, 89801

Other speakers include
  • Natalia Salgado, Working Families Party
  • Keya Chatterjee, US Climate Action Network
  • Ramon Cruz, Sierra Club
  • Andy Kunz, US High Speed Rail Association
  • Rahna Epting, MoveOn.org
  • Ebony Martin, Greenpeace
  • Lauren Manus, Sunrise Movement
  • Basav Sen, Climate Justice Alliance
  • Tashima Hawkins, American Federation of Teachers
  • Ofelia Sanchez, Central Florida Jobs with Justice

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Introduces the Green New Deal for Public Schools

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 15 Jul 2021 18:03:00 GMT

Appearing before the JP Sousa Junior High School in the Bronx, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), a lifelong educator and former middle school principal, on Thursday introduced the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act.

The ambitious new legislation — which aims to invest $1.43 trillion over 10 years in public schools and infrastructure to combat climate change — would invest in public school infrastructure by upgrading every public school building in the country, addressing historical harms and inequities by focusing support on high-need schools, and hiring and training hundreds of thousands of additional educators and support staff. If enacted, sponsors say, the legislation would fund 1.3 million jobs per year and eliminate 78 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road.

“It’s time for a revolution in public education,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman. “As we deal with a devastating climate crisis caused by decades of unchecked corporate greed, we need to center our children and their future. The Green New Deal for Public Schools represents the level of school infrastructure investment that is urgent and necessary to heal the harm from decades of disinvestment, redlining and cycles of poverty and trauma, particularly for Black and brown children. What this comes down to is whether we’re willing to provide our kids with the resources they need to realize their brilliance and have a livable planet. Do we want to continue building a world based on militarization, incarceration, poverty, and destruction of resources? Or will we take advantage of this moment, put our kids and educators first, and treat the climate crisis as the emergency it is? This legislation is what we need to put us on the right side of history.”

The legislation is modeled on a proposal by the Climate + Community Project at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Green New Deal for Public Schools proposes $1.43 trillion in new funding over 10 years, including the following distribution of resources:
  • $446 billion in Climate Capital Facilities Grants and $40 billion for a Climate Change Resiliency Program Climate Capital Facilities Grants will fully fund healthy green retrofits for the highest-need third of schools, as measured by the CDC Social Vulnerability Index, and offer a mix of grant funding and no- or low-interest loans for the middle and top thirds. Grants will cover two-thirds and one-third of retrofit costs for these schools, respectively.
  • $250 billion in Resource Block Grants Resource Block Grants will fund staffing increases, expanded social service programming, and curriculum development at high-need schools. The program will allow Local Educational Agencies across the country to hire and train hundreds of thousands of additional educators and support staff, including paraprofessionals, school psychologists and counselors, and learning specialists. The funds may also be used to design locally-rooted curricula; adopt trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and restorative justice practices, to move towards a “whole child” approach to public education; and partner with community organizations to offer a range of services to schools and surrounding neighborhoods, such as after-school programs.
  • $100 million for an Educational Equity Planning Grants Pilot Program Educational Equity Planning Grants will encourage neighboring Local Education Agencies to form regional consortia, which will receive funding to conduct extensive community outreach, identify the historical and current sources of educational disparities within the region, and create and implement a Regional Education Equity Plan to address those disparities. This pilot program is modeled on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, which are designed to encourage equitable, locally-driven economic development.
  • $695 billion over 10 years for Title I and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) increases This bill proposes quadrupling Title I funding to reach $66 billion annually to support schools and districts with students living in poverty, as well as increasing funding for IDEA Part B to reach $33 billion annually to support students with disabilities.

“Our country’s public schools should be safe, welcoming and sustainable for every child, regardless of geography or demography,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “As we navigate the ever-growing climate crisis and school buildings that are ill-equipped to deal with it, we find ourselves with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to meet the moment, and ensure all our students can learn in schools where they can drink clean water, breathe clean air and be free from mold and broken windows. This bill makes the bold investments in America’s K-12 education system we need, from retrofitting school buildings, to investing in school staff and mental health professionals, all while addressing historic inequities so we can build a just future where every kid can access basic opportunities to thrive.”

“The Green New Deal for K-12 Schools is a reflection of multiple movements for educational, environmental, and economic justice,” said Akira Drake Rodriguez, lead author of the Climate + Community Project report and Assistant Professor of City & Regional Planning, Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. “Climate + Community Project was inspired to produce this research because of the activism in cities like Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Washington DC, and we are grateful to have received feedback from K-12 educators across the nation who have experienced and provided so much in this last academic year. As many re-enter school facilities in the coming weeks, we remain committed to the core principles in this report and legislation: locally-grounded solutions to environmental, educational, and economic vulnerability supported by robust and transformative federal funding.”

“To ensure a safe and exciting future for our kids and workers, let’s invest in upgrading every public school in the country to the highest standards of health and comfort, while eliminating carbon pollution,” said Daniel Aldana Cohen, co-director of the Climate + Community Project, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley. “This would drastically improve learning and teaching conditions, especially in the country’s most vulnerable schools. It would launch new careers for hundreds of thousands of workers. And it would bring green community infrastructure to every neighborhood in the country, especially Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and working class communities. Our research shows that a $1.4 trillion investment over 10 years would create over one million jobs annually, while eliminating 78 million tons of metric carbon dioxide emissions per year—the equivalent of removing 17 million cars off the roads.”

“The pandemic didn’t just start a crisis, but amplified the many crises we face – one being the importance of supporting our public schools. So many young people right now are suffering from underinvested schools, rotting infrastructure, and even a lack of AC units in classrooms. That’s unacceptable,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement. “Rep. Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools Act is just the forward thinking and long overdue legislation that would not only protect the health and wellbeing of young people, but transform our school systems, equip future generations to stop climate change and move us one step closer to our vision of a Green New Deal.”

“This is the right investment for our students, our school communities, and our planet. Our students see the effects of climate change and ask why the adults in their lives aren’t getting this done. Now is the time,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.

“Rep. Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools combines human and physical infrastructure,” said Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell. “As an educator in under-resourced schools, he knows how we can fight the climate crisis, create jobs, and give every student in the country the school buildings they deserve. This is a solution at the scale of the crises we face. WFP is proud to stand with Rep. Bowman in championing this bill.”

“The success of our public schools is the foundation for the success of our future generations, and this legislation helps ensure that all students receive the robust education they deserve, while making significant investments in the sustainable economy,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “We’re proud to join with Congressman Jamaal Bowman and advocates in support of this important legislation that will serve our students and serve to create thousands of jobs with good labor standards that will pave the way to the middle-class for countless hardworking Americans.”

“As a nation, we must prioritize long term investment for our students and address educational and environmental injustice, starting with the schools in Black and Brown communities that have been underserved for decades,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “That will mean funding for safe and updated school facilities, promoting equity across school districts and states, protecting the rights of students with disabilities, ensuring that small class sizes are a central pillar of our education system and more. We can and must ensure that our public schools are healthy, safe and supportive environments for all students.”

Original co-sponsors of the legislation are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Cori Bush (D-MO), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

Organizations endorsing the Green New Deal for Public Schools include American Federation of Teachers, Sunrise Movement, EduColor, Alliance for Quality Education, Justice Democrats, Climate Justice Alliance, Green New Deal Network, People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, Global Grassroots Justice Alliance,Democratic Socialists of America, Working Families Party, Indivisible, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Jobs with Justice, NY Renews, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, Green Latinos, Future Coalition, March for Our Lives, Friends of the Earth US, Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Progressive Democrats of America, and 350.org.

Amendment Deadline for PFAS Action Act of 2021

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 15 Jul 2021 14:00:00 GMT

The Committee on Rules is likely to meet the week of July 19 to grant a rule that may provide a structured amendment process for floor consideration of H.R. 2467, the PFAS Action Act of 2021.

Any Member wishing to offer an amendment must submit a searchable electronic copy of the amendment, which should be provided by the Office of Legislative Counsel, via the Rules Committee’s website by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Members should draft their amendments to the text of Rules Committee Print 117-10, which contains the text of H.R. 2467, as ordered reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is available on the Rules Committee website.

Policy + Pints: The Urgent Need for a Civilian Climate Corps with Sen. Ed Markey

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 14 Jul 2021 20:00:00 GMT

Markey your calendars: Evergreen’s next Policy + Pints happy hour is coming up—and, as you might have guessed, Senator Ed Markey is joining us! We’re going to be talking about the urgent need to launch a Civilian Climate Corps. (Think of it as a justice-driven, climate-centered version of FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps.)

In this virtual BYOB special hosted by Evergreen Action campaigns director Lena Moffitt, we’ll chat with:
  • Senator Markey
  • Tonya Gayle, executive director, Green City Force
  • Lauren Maunus, advocacy director, Sunrise Movement

about:

  • Why the CCC is such a powerful opportunity for taking on our overlapping climate and economic crises
  • How overwhelmingly popular it is
  • What corpsmembers would actually do in communities across the country
  • And more!

Bring beer, tea, wine, kombucha—whatever!—and join us on Wednesday, July 14 at 4 pm ET / 1 pm PT.

Analysis: $95 Billion Manchin Energy Infrastructure Act Is Heavily Biased Against Renewable Energy

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 13 Jul 2021 19:58:00 GMT

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), the chair of the Senate energy committee, has released the text of his Energy Infrastructure Act, which will undergo committee markup tomorrow.

An analysis by Friends of the Earth finds only $410 million in funding for renewable wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy but nearly $30 billion for non-renewable energy programs.

Even the investments in storage and energy efficiency are less than half of spending in polluting energy.

The legislation proposes to make $95 billion in infrastructure investments mainly concentrated in the energy sector. But a close look at exactly where the money is going to go reveals an undeniable bet on dirty energy from the 20th century over clean energy from the 21st. In fact, the bill authorizes $28.8 billion in nuclear, carbon capture and dirty hydrogen over only $410 million in direct authorizations for wind, solar, geothermal and tidal. That’s a ratio of dirty to renewables of over 70-to-1. Even when combining the renewable provisions with the bill’s meager storage and efficiency programs, Manchin still proposes spending twice as much on dirty than he does on clean.

Most of the language for the carbon capture text was taken from the SCALE (Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions) Act from Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.).

The nuclear provisions were drawn from the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

The fossil & polluting energy provisions include:
  • $12.6 billion for carbon capture projects, including financing for carbon-dioxide pipelines used for enhanced oil recovery to extend the life of oil wells.
  • $6 billion for subsidy payments to the nuclear industry to extend the lifetime of aging plants past economic viability.
  • $7 billion in research and development from hydrogen programs; 95 percent of hydrogen production is from fracked gas.
  • $1.9 billion in subsidies for commercial logging on public lands
On the storage and energy-efficiency side, provisions include:
  • $6 billion for battery production: minerals mining, processing, manufacturing, and recycling
  • $3.5 billion for the low-income energy efficiency efforts under the Weather Assistance Program

In addition, there is a further giveaway to the coal industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the text: a 20% cut to the Abandoned Mine Land fee paid by the coal industry.

Senior ExxonMobil lobbyist Keith McCoy revealed to a journalist posing as a corporate recruiter that Manchin holds weekly calls with Exxon. He named Coons and Barrasso as two other “crucial” allies to the oil giant’s agenda.

Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee Appropriations Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 12 Jul 2021 21:00:00 GMT

H.R. 3684—INVEST in America Act, Amendment Consideration

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 29 Jun 2021 18:00:00 GMT

H.R. 3684: Text of Legislation

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