Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps

A group of more than 80 House and Senate Democrats on Tuesday laid out their vision for a climate jobs program called the Civilian Climate Corps that is expected to be part of a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill filled with Democratic priorities.

A new letter from Democrats spanning the ideological spectrum pushed for the program to prioritize natural climate solutions, clean energy, climate resilience and addressing environmental justice. 

The lawmakers also called for “ambitious” labor standards, including a living wage and an award to help participants pay for college or pay back student loans. The letter did not specify how much money should be provided for that program.

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They said half of the climate program’s investment should be directed into front-line communities disproportionately impacted by environmental issues and that half of the Corps' members should be recruited from such communities.

The push was spearheaded by Reps. Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseLawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps MORE (Colo.), Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (N.Y.), Judy ChuJudy May ChuOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan MORE (Calif.), Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturAcquiescing to Berlin, emboldening Moscow and squeezing Kyiv: Biden and Nordstream 2 OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps MORE (Ohio) and Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse passes host of bills to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of attacks OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps MORE (Ill.) and by Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (Ore.), Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Key Biden ally OK with dropping transit from infrastructure package Democrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation MORE (Del.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones Lawmakers urge Biden to make 'bold decisions' in nuclear review MORE (Mass.). 

Some of these lawmakers have already introduced legislation with different specifications for the program. 

In their letter, the lawmakers acknowledged those differences, saying that “while each of these bills vary in detail, we collectively ask that the upcoming reconciliation package include text that supports and funds a Civilian Climate Corps program as outlined in this letter.”

During the press conference, Ocasio-Cortez described this as a “yes, and” approach, saying the proposals are “inclusive” rather than competitive. 

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The lawmakers are also pushing for prioritizing programs that offer apprenticeship opportunities and job placement assistance. 

They also want to create a “central entity” in the White House to coordinate and oversee the Corps’ work and have funding for enlisting Americans “at scale” including through AmeriCorps infrastructure. 

Climate advocates have also championed the proposal — with the youth-led Sunrise Movement focusing its advocacy around the program as well.