Energy & Environment

NY progressive Bowman introducing $446B ‘Green New Deal for Public Schools’

Bonnie Cash

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is set to unveil a “Green New Deal for Public Schools” that would put $446 billion toward retrofitting the nation’s public school buildings.

The proposal would create an Office of Sustainable Schools within the Department of Education.

The new entity would distribute grants to make buildings energy efficient and carbon neutral and add features such as charging stations for electric vehicles, the one-time middle school principal said in a statement.

Other provisions in the measure include $33 billion in increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to improve educational infrastructure for disabled students.

“Schools are the best epicenter to be leaders in what climate infrastructure should look like, in terms of sustainable energy, in terms of renewable energy, and in terms of energy sharing,” Bowman told The Washington Post Thursday. “In terms of how we support the social, emotional, and economic needs for students and families within a particular community to prepare for the challenges of climate change — our schools are not doing any of that at this moment.”

Bowman told the newspaper the proposal lines up with the Biden administration’s target of cutting national emissions by half by the end of the decade, and said the White House has been “very receptive and very excited” about the deal.

Bowman’s announcement comes as congressional progressives have pushed to ensure key climate provisions are included in a reconciliation package set to be introduced in the Senate alongside a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Under the reconciliation process, the package can pass with a simple majority.

The bill has attracted 22 co-sponsors, including not just progressive allies of Bowman’s such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) but also members such as Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Meanwhile, Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has said the caucus is waiting to see the reconciliation package’s climate provisions before committing to supporting it.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bennie Thompson Carolyn Maloney Green New Deal Infrastructure Pramila Jayapal schools

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