Apr 20, 2021
Green New Deal Reintroduction Press Conference Transcript April 20
Senator Ed Markey, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other members of Congress held a press conference on April 20, 2021 to discuss the reintroduction of the Green New Deal. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Senator Ed Markey: (00:00)
… organized army of activists, leaders, and communities demanding the most ambitious action possible on climate. It is an intergenerational compact to save the planet spearheaded by our young people who are going to face the most dire impacts of the climate crisis if we do nothing to stop it. For them, this is life and death.
Senator Ed Markey: (00:29)
Because of this movement, we welcomed a new group of congressional colleagues who ran and won on the Green New Deal, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones. Just look at my race in Massachusetts. I ran and won on the Green New Deal.
Speaker 1: (00:48)
Senator Ed Markey: (00:50)
I am proud to have organized my campaign around the power of the Green New Deal. We made bold climate action not only a voting issue, we made it a winning political issue. And now all of these leaders are working to pass bold, visionary legislation. Climate justice is finally taking over the halls of the United States Congress.
Senator Ed Markey: (01:19)
In the past two years, the Green New Deal has raised the world’s awareness to the scope and the scale of the challenges we face and the solutions we need to act. General Motors is now moving to produce only electric vehicles by 2035. That was not on the scoreboard two years ago. The Biden administration is including climate action, environmental justice, and the care economy in its recovery plans. That’s the DNA of the Green New Deal that we introduced.
Senator Ed Markey: (01:53)
More than a hundred cities nationwide have already committed to a hundred percent clean, renewable energy. New York City has a Green New Deal. Maine enacted a Green New Deal. The Seattle city council passed a Green New Deal resolution. What critics and skeptics called pie in the sky or distracting in the Green New Deal two years ago is now recognized as undeniably linked.
Senator Ed Markey: (02:23)
Racial injustice, economic inequality, housing, education, jobs, and climate change. It is all intertwined. And that is why we are here today because we know that there cannot be true freedom when people are imprisoned by poverty and homelessness. There cannot be real liberty when education is withheld, or civil rights denied. There cannot be public health when air sickens and water poisons. The Green New Deal proudly centered these interrelated, undeniable truths.
Senator Ed Markey: (02:59)
Now there are new bills being introduced that have the Green New Deal in there DNA, bold, ambitious, transformational, economy-wide legislation with jobs, justice, and climate at their center.
Senator Ed Markey: (03:17)
Today, I am introducing new legislation with my partner Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez that will create a Civilian Climate Corp for jobs and justice in our country. Livable wages with benefits, on-the-job training from local unions, sweat equity that builds racial, moral, and political equality, work that rebuilds the economy and saves the planet all at the same time. This is the 21st Century Civilian Climate Corp.
Senator Ed Markey: (03:57)
We will supercharge the already successful national service programs run through the Corporation for National Service and employ a diverse group of 1.5 million Americans to complete projects that help communities respond to climate change and transition to a clean economy.
Senator Ed Markey: (04:20)
From Groundwork’s Lawrence to AmeriCorps Cape Cod to the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation and programs all across the country, core members will work on everything from making our schools and buildings more energy efficient to ensuring access to good transit, to protecting conservation land and waterways, and promoting climate resiliency.
Senator Ed Markey: (04:44)
But unlike the Conservation Corps of the past, this Climate Corp will center equity and justice, providing 50% of investments to environmental justice communities and ensure that 50% of Corps members come from those same communities.
Senator Ed Markey: (05:03)
Civilian Climate Corps members will receive education and job training and coordination with local institutions to usher them into good union jobs in our country. They will have…
Speaker 3: (05:17)
Senator Ed Markey: (05:20)
They will have access to financial grants to pay down student loans or pay for higher education, and they will make at least $15 an hour, receive full medical coverage, and have access to other services like childcare. We will build homes, build careers, build futures. This is our opportunity to not only retrofit our buildings but to future-proof our workers and the planet. It is now this generation’s turn to answer the call and to meet the historic challenges of our time, the era of the Green New Deal has arrived. No longer will justice get an IOU for the sake of CO2.
Speaker 4: (06:05)
Senator Ed Markey: (06:08)
Intersectional is foundational. The power of the wind, the power of the sun to be matched by the power of the people. It is possible to find middle ground in many areas of politics, I know because I have done it, but we cannot compromise away math or morality. We cannot compromise on science, policies will take steps to save the planet or they will not. We cannot compromise on justice, policies are equitable or they are not. We cannot compromise on the fate of our planet and the fate of human civilization. We must do what it takes to create the jobs, to render the justice, to ensure the livable future that the Green New Deal calls for. We have the technology to do it, we have the economic imperative to do it, we have the moral obligation to do it, and we need the political will to do it. And we will do it this year. We have our charge.
Senator Ed Markey: (07:09)
And now I would like to introduce the great leader on the state of New York, my partner, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (07:21)
Thank you so much, Senator Markey. Today is just such a wonderfully momentous and joyous day. And…
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (07:31)
Pardon? Speak up. You got it. Today’s such a wonderfully momentous and joyous day. Sorry, I’ve got some hair in my mouth going on here. I first want to start off by thanking so many of the people and reiterating that gratitude that Senator Markey has already expressed. To him, as a legislative partner, and also to all of our legislative partners that are here today, the OGs that were original co-sponsors at the beginning, our new recruits in the fight for environmental, social, and economic, and racial justice, this legislation and our future does not move forward without you all.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (08:16)
And I wanted to underscore that because a lot has happened since we introduced this resolution two years ago. And when we introduced that resolution two years ago, every single member that was here and co-sponsored this legislation took a risk. And Senator Markey, first and foremost, took an enormous risk, and he did it for us, he did it for our planet. To take a risk working with a first-term Congresswoman co-sponsoring enormous legislation that is huge in scope, not because it’s the convenient thing to do but because it was the right thing to do because for so long our movement towards a sustainable future has been divided with really just this false notion that we have to choose between our planet and our economy.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (09:24)
And we decided to come together in sweeping legislation that not only rejects that notion but creates a plan for 20 million union jobs in the United States of America to rebuild our infrastructure, to restore public housing, to make sure that we expand our access, not only to EV and EV Infrastructure but mass transit, everything from coast-to-coast chargers to making sure that we have a resilient Amtrak infrastructure to the New York City subway system. It is going to be an all-hands-on-deck approach and we refuse to leave any community behind in the process.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (10:12)
Not only do we refuse to leave any community behind, but those who have been left behind come first. We refuse to allow, for example, an economy that goes from oil barons to solar barons, that’s what we’re not going to do because what we’re going to do is that we’re going to transition to a 100% carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified, and guarantees more healthcare and housing than any than we ever have before. That’s our goal. That’s the goal of a Green New Deal.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (10:49)
What we’re going to do is going to make sure that communities like Flint, Baltimore, the South Bronx, St. Louis, rural communities whose infrastructure was never properly built in the first place are first in line to rectify the injustices of the past to make sure that they get everything that they need to thrive in the future, that’s what a Green New Deal is all about.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (11:12)
And so in these last two years, what has happened? What has occurred since the introduction of the Green New Deal? How has it been impactful? Well, a lot has happened. One is that over a dozen pieces of legislation have been introduced in the House of Representatives, most recently, the Civilian Climate Corp and Representative Cori Bush’s Green New Deal for Cities have recently been introduced. We also have an Agricultural Resilience Act from Chellie Pingree, we have the Green New Deal for Public Housing, the bill GREEN Act, the EV Freedom Act, many, many pieces of legislation had been introduced adopting the Green New Deal framework of jobs and justice to decarbonize our economy.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (11:58)
And not only have they been introduced, but elements have already passed the House. Last year repeal of the Faircloth Amendment, which would end our decades-along ban on construction of new public housing in the United States, passed the House of Representatives. We also had an enormous amount of new and additional…
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (12:20)
Speaker 2: (12:23)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (12:29)
Thank you. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:12:31] Thank you so much. Thank you for being here.
Speaker 5: (12:34)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (12:35)
We also have dozens of new and additional pieces of legislation that adopt a Green New Deal framework that ensures that we can make sure that we create millions of jobs in the United States and advance the cause of racial and social justice.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (12:50)
The Green New Deal also importantly recognizes the systemic cause of climate change because, while climate change is a planetary crisis, it does not have a random or environmental genesis, it’s not just human-caused, it’s societally caused. The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice and it is a crisis born of the pursuit of profit at any and all human and ecological cost.
Speaker 6: (13:27)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:27)
Which means that we must recognize in legislation that the trampoline of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change, that the trampoline of racial justice is a cause of climate change because we are allowing folks to deny ourselves human rights and deny people the right to healthcare, the right to housing, and education.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:53)
So I’m so thrilled, again, I’m so thankful to each of our record high level of Congressional Co-sponsors. We are now at 103 House…
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (14:02)
… we are now at 103 House co-sponsors for the Green New Deal in the US House of Representatives. And we have our allies here today, Jared Huffman, Cori Bush, Juan Vargas, [Geico Haley 00:14:15], Jan Schakowsky, John Larson, Tom Swazi, Sarah Jacobs, Lloyd Doggett. Am I missing anybody? Oh, Earl Blumenauer, and we’re so incredibly excited to have all of them here today. And of course our grassroots and community activists for whom this legislation would not exist and would not have the momentum without. We have Allen Cialis of Sunrise, Karrie Falton of Climate Justice Alliance and Judith Howell of 32 BJ. We’re so thankful and we’ll continue that on as well. So thank you all so much and I’ll hand it back to Senator Markey. Oh, and we’ve got Alex Padilla as well. Thank you so much. Hello, Senator Padilla. Sorry, I missed you back there. Welcome. Yes. And I’ll hand it off to you Senator Padilla. Thank you.
Senator Padilla: (15:03)
Thank you Congresswoman. Thank you all for joining us here today. As we reintroduce the Green New deal, and I particularly want to thank Senator Markey and Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez for your tenacious leadership on this issue and in the battle against climate change. And I’m proud to share that my home state of California has long lead on climate policy and on innovating clean energy solutions that create good jobs and grow the economy. I’m proud to have been part of that leadership as a former chair of the state Senate committee on energy in the state Capitol. California first adopted a renewable energy mandate in 2002 and we have since raised it.we’ve mandated a smart grid deployment plan for every electrical utility in California, an increased emphasis and investment on energy efficiency and energy storage. Today, 33% of California’s energy comes from renewable sources compared to 11% nationally. While California is home to 11% of the nation’s population, we’re home to 17% of the nation’s clean energy jobs.
Senator Padilla: (16:32)
And no, it is not a coincidence that California represents the largest economy of any state in the nation and the sixth largest economy in the world. But we’re also suffering. This year, California’s once again bracing itself for more extreme heat and another record breaking wildfire year. Another winter of floods and sea level rise that threatens our coastal communities. A renewed drought that threatens California’s water supply for homes, ecosystems, and agriculture, and another year of homes destroyed and lives lost because of our lack of federal action on climate. But California’s not unique on facing these challenges, quite the opposite. We’re all feeling the impacts. There are communities across America right now where families can’t drink the water because it’s contaminated with lead. Children who can’t play in their backyards because of toxic contamination. They deserve our attention and our investment. As we recover from COVID, there’s still 9.7 million workers unemployed today.
Senator Padilla: (17:59)
So in the face of these challenges, the green new deal offers a once in a generation opportunity to build back more sustainably and build back more equitably and show the world what an inclusive, thriving, clean energy future can look like. It is time for another New Deal with the American people. One that tackles a climate crisis head-on and creates good paying jobs in the process, including a civilian climate corps to help rebuild America’s economy. One that ensures that communities of color, that have so often been overlooked or left out are included both in our policy and in our economic recovery. I want to take a moment to thank the bold leadership of the many young climate activists here today and across the country for their fight to put these issues front and center, not just here in Congress, but in state capitals around the country.
Senator Padilla: (19:10)
Thank you for organizing. Thank you for mobilizing. Thank you for insisting that we face this great challenge and take advantage of this historic opportunity with the urgency that our climate crisis demands. Again, thank you, Senator Markey and Representative Ocasio Cortez for inviting me to be a part of today. Before I introduce the next speaker, if you’ll indulge me a few words in Espagnol. [foreign language 00:19:44]. and now it’s my honor to introduce not just a colleague here in Congress, but a long time partner. We served together in the California legislature advancing these policies, my friend, Congressman Jared Huffman.
Congressman Huffman: (20:56)
Thank you, Senator. Well, thank you Senator Padilla. And let me just say that I am so proud to stand here with my colleagues and as a member of the select committee on the climate crisis and someone who has been working on this issue for many years, I really have to thank Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez and Senator Markey, because what you have done with this Green New Deal has made a tremendous difference already, it continues to make a big difference by broadening the coalition for climate action.
Congressman Huffman: (21:29)
You have brought in more communities of color, more younger voices. And to them, I would say, thank you for your impatience. These are voices who understand that the urgency of this crisis demands action. That winning slowly is the same thing as losing. The Green New Deal sets the right standard for climate action by building equity, social justice, public health, and economic opportunity into our climate solutions and it follows the science. Anyone who says these targets and goals are too high, needs to rethink that. Because if the scientific consensus says, this is what we must do to avoid an existential threat, how could anyone aspire to anything less? And that’s the other way that I think the Green New Deal has made a great contribution by challenging Republicans and Democrats alike to meet the scale and urgency of this crisis. Here’s a plan that does it. If you can’t support this, what’s your plan?
Congressman Huffman: (22:39)
Now the 117th Congress is a turning point for climate action. President Biden, Vice President Harris, they understand the urgency and the opportunity in this moment. We have many congressional champions that are ready to take action, and the American people are with us. And because of this crisis involves every part of our lives, you’ve seen that the Green New Deal is very broad. Others have spoken to some of the elements of it. I just want to take a moment to talk about how agriculture can be part of the solution. The Green New Deal sees American farmers and ranchers as partners in solving the climate crisis. And a growing number of innovative ag leaders are already doing the work. It has huge potential if you think about it. We have over 900 million acres of agricultural land in the United States. We have the potential to sequester carbon at a massive scale just by building healthy soils.
Congressman Huffman: (23:40)
And in my district in Northern California, we’re already showing what this does. It doesn’t just sequester carbon. It has all kinds of multiple benefits. We’re seeing taller grass is better soil moisture retention, overall healthier and more productive working landscapes. So farmers and conservationists are just natural partners in this mission to build healthy soils and save the planet. We now need the federal government to recognize this and help take it to the next level. That’s where the Green New Deal comes in. It calls for supporting family farmers for investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health and for building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food. And I’m also just delighted that it tackles the sometimes forgotten problem of food waste. So these are not utopian concepts, they are proven strategies that will help tackle the climate crisis while supporting agriculture, building healthier communities and just making us better. Thank you very much. And with that, I will pass it off to Congresswoman Cori Bush.
Congresswoman Bush: (24:57)
So I won’t take my mask off because I don’t want you to see the mess that the lipstick makes under the mask. But first of all, hello everyone and thank you all so much. This support is amazing, especially for someone like me, who is a freshmen to Congress. I’ve only been here a little over 100 days, but then also as someone who is new, just in the matter of the last, maybe four or five years, new to this movement. So I’m still learning a lot, but I understand now why this movement is so important and important to people who look like me.
Congresswoman Bush: (25:33)
That’s always been an issue that I bring up. I highlight that because it’s a very real point. It’s a real point because I spent so much time in St. Louis talking about just trying to survive as a black woman in America and trying to survive in a place where we’re number one for police murder and trying to survive in a place where number one for homicides and trying to keep my son and my daughter alive and trying to put food on the table and to keep the air conditioning going, to keep the heat on and trying to eat.
Congresswoman Bush: (26:04)
And so now that I understand we’ve made those connections, I have to shout out and thank my colleagues in the fight, those who put in the work and opened my eyes and the eyes of so many others. So thank you to my dear sister, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Absolutely, my sister in this fight and to Senator Markey who opened his arms like, “Hey, look, let’s do this work together.” So thank you. And to all of our partners, my colleagues who are standing up here. I’m amazed that you’ve opened your arms so well and have been such a motivation for me in this fight. And thank you for hosting St. Louis today, because when I show up, you’re seeing St. Louis. So thank you for hosting St. Louis. I’m proud to be standing here with you. So two years ago, the Green New Deal transformed our movement, reframing the climate conversation as an economy-wide effort for climate, racial, economic justice.
Congresswoman Bush: (27:02)
The green new deal focuses on public investments and green jobs and green infrastructure. I know I don’t have to preach to the choir, but it helped make climate action relevant to people like me who live paycheck to paycheck. And that’s all I know, paycheck to paycheck. Now, two years later, we have a once in a generation opportunity to push forward transformative change. As we flesh out the Green New Deal together, we are building a body of legislation that applies to the commitment to jobs. Like my sister said, racial justice and climate justice to each proposal that we all put forward. In my first month in office, I noticed that there had been a lot of talk about the need to gather data and map environmental injustices, to be sure that we invest a lot of the Green New Deal spending in communities that are on the front lines of this crisis. Communities like mine in St. Louis, communities like Queens-
Congresswoman Bush: (28:03)
… communities like mine in St. Louis, communities like Queens and other communities across this country that are predominantly black and brown. I knew that the large scale investments we needed wouldn’t be possible if we did have a plan. That is why Senator Mark and I put forward the Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act in January, to map the many types of environmental injustice that exist in our communities and ensure that the federal government will direct funding, direct funding to those who need it most. That was my first environmental bill. And yesterday, we took bold action with the introduction of our Green New Deal for Cities Act, which is my first original, explicitly Green New Deal legislation. And I could not be more excited to be able to be a part of this.
Congresswoman Bush: (28:56)
From the moment that I heard about the Green New Deal, I knew that we needed it right at home in St. Louis, so we could directly hire our own people to clean up our communities. Our community is home to out of control nuclear waste. And let me say that again, our community is home to out of control nuclear waste. And we thought that that was just regular. We have lead paint, mold, and bullets contaminating our homes and our neighborhoods. Yes. I said, bullets. We live down the river from line three, fossil fuel infrastructure that’s putting the children and families in our communities at risk every single day. And despite this massive hazard, it is not shut down.
Congresswoman Bush: (29:47)
The Green New Deal for Cities is our effort to meet frontline climate demands. It would fund a Green New Deal in every city, every town, every state, every tribe, and every territory right away, right away, with each community, investing money in climate and environmental justice projects. Whoever is out there listening today, we know this, you too can have a Green New Deal. You can have a Green New Deal right at home, no need to apply. The basis for this $1 trillion investment is that every single community that needs relief from the climate crisis and environmental justice has it. So lastly, my bill with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also takes many precautions to ensure that it will be intersectional. Because you know this, we don’t do anything that’s not, intersectional and empowering justice. This bill is pro tenant. This bill is pro worker. We’ve worked hard to ensure that no one will be displaced because of these investments in our infrastructure and have included comprehensive labor provisions to ensure the jobs created in this piece of legislation will lift people, lift people up.
Congresswoman Bush: (31:08)
We also recognize the threat police violence poses to our environment and ensured that none of this funding go toward forces like our policing system that worsen the environmental injustice. So this is our time. So let me ask you, we know that we need a Green New Deal. So this is our time. What do we need?
Green New Deal.
Congresswoman Bush: (31:37)
What do we need to do?
Green New Deal.
Congresswoman Bush: (31:40)
What do we need?
Green New Deal.
Congresswoman Bush: (31:42)
We need a Green New Deal. Yes. We need a Green New Deal. We need it now. We need it everywhere. We need to expand racial and economic injustice, and it will. So thank you. And let’s take this all the way. Thank you.
Senator Ed Markey: (32:00)
Beautiful. Now we’re going to hear from Ellen [inaudible 00:32:05] with Sunrise Movement. Ellen, come on. Beautiful.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (32:08)
Thank you. Sorry. I’m just going to throw this down here. Okay. Hi, I’m Ellen from Sunrise Movement. When I was 11 years old, Hurricane Irene… Oh, sorry about that. Hurricane Irene hit my town.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (32:26)
I remember of the feeling of cold water around my ankles and rising to my knees as the storm flooded my family’s basement. And I remember the sense of despair that washed over me and my younger siblings as we barreled buckets and buckets of ice, cold water out of that basement. And the sad reality is that this is what so many 11 year olds go through. Like the young people who emerged from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina and the Texans who survived the day after tomorrow apocalyptic freeze this winter. Sorry, I’m going to take this off now. Whoops.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (33:09)
To be a young person right now is to live through decades of violent policies, always on the brink of crisis. We are facing the perils of climate change, racial injustice, under an unemployment, and persistent economic insecurity. Because for years, politicians have sold out our future to corporate and fossil fuel executives, ignoring the cries of everyday people. And as young people, we’ve been forced to make a choice, will we quietly watch as our world falls to these devastating crises or will we pick up the buckets and use our strength to bail our way out of this flood?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (33:55)
And we chose to pick up the buckets and we picked up the phone and made thousands of calls and knocked on thousands of doors until our knuckles bled to get Democrats elected on a bold, progressive mandate. And when the pandemic hit, we again got up and we delivered food and mutual aid to our neighbors. We took the reins on this political moment and shook the ground under politician’s feet to make the Green New Deal impossible to ignore. So Biden and Congress were asking you, no, we’re demanding that you come down and stand with us and pick up a bucket.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (34:35)
That’s what you promise to do when you ran. And that’s what we need to stay alive. We know that we are the levy that holds back the flood and we know our power. So put this Civilian Climate Corp Act in your infrastructure package, put young people to work building back better in our own communities. Pay us good wages so that when the next disaster strikes, our buildings are resilient because of the labor of Civilian Climate Corps members. And when we do need help bailing water out, the burden is not put on a frightened 11 year old, but a Civilian Climate Corps member will be there alongside her weather the storm. So if you’re a young person watching today and you’re ready to start building a better world, join us, join our movement, and let’s get to work. Thank you so much.
Senator Ed Markey: (35:30)
Fabulous. Next, Carrie Fulton from the Climate Justice Alliance.
Carrie Fulton: (35:44)
Hello everyone, how’s everyone doing today?
Carrie Fulton: (35:49)
So I just, first and foremost, I want to take a moment to take in the moment that we’re in on the 10th anniversary of the BP oil spill, where we lost 11 lives. I want to take in the moment that my son feels like this is entirely boring. And I hope that one day he’ll look back on this day, that was extremely boring, and know that it was historical too. Today, I’m here to speak on behalf of the Climate Justice Alliance. The Climate Justice Alliance represents more than 74 frontline, environmental, and climate justice community base and supporting organizations throughout Turtle Island, also known as North America, more specifically in the United States of America and our territories, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Carrie Fulton: (36:49)
Most specifically, I want to acknowledge the occupied land that we stand on and the Piscataway peoples. We are working on the ground in our communities to forge new and just energy, economic, and community controlled models that show how just transitions and local Green New Deals can be safe, beneficial for frontline communities. And they are scalable. We are the ones on the front lines of white supremacy, economic, democratic, and climate crises that we’re dealing with today. That’s why we showed up in record numbers in 2018. And again, in 2020 to elect a new Congress and a new president.
Carrie Fulton: (37:31)
Now, we want to make sure that they really heard us. We want to ensure they actually implement the solutions necessary to solve the historic crisis our country faces. The Green New Deal resolution lays out clearly the reason why we can’t wait anymore and why we must go bigger and bolder to address the scale of the problem, because it is systemic. $ 2 trillion over eight years as proposed by President Biden last month is not going to get the job done in time. I’m sorry. An investment of at least $10 trillion over 10 years would be a minimum amount to start so that we can address the scale and scope of what we are facing.
Carrie Fulton: (38:23)
We also must increase investment to the frontline, so at least 50% to move away from fossil fuels. We must prioritize a care economy and respect those working to care for our communities, those on the front lines. Black communities, indigenous communities, Latin communities, Latino communities, communities of color, Asian and Pacific Islander and other working class communities, young people, those who have been excluded from economic opportunity in the past, and those who want to be a part of a more just, sustainable, thriving future are ready to support this administration and the democratic leadership, when you hold true to your promises to forge real, long lasting systemic change.
Carrie Fulton: (39:12)
We need a recovery that works for all of us. We need to a just recovery. We appreciate the spirit of the Green New Deal resolution for ensuring that environmental justice communities are front and center and that no false solutions, techno fixes, or harmful market-based approaches are lifted up and funded as somehow they are solutions. We can’t count on those who created the climate crisis to fix it. We must count on ourselves, on those who live on the front lines of this crisis to know what works. We hold the solutions y’all. COVID relief is not enough. Piecemeal action is not enough. Investments must be big and go farther and address historical harm on our peoples and our communities.
Carrie Fulton: (40:05)
Any long-term local or national Green New Deals must address comprehensive solutions that center our communities. That means a just transition away from the outdated and harmful dig, burn, dump extractive systems to regenerative economies that benefit and honor mother earth, happy Earth Day. My son asked me, “What are we going to do for Earth Day?” This is what we’re doing for earth day. And we are… Yes, really. And we are excited to support these measures here with you all today. And we stand in solidarity. We stand working and ready to go hard. We are the Climate Justice Alliance, climatejusticealliance.org. Thank you.
Senator Ed Markey: (40:56)
And our final speaker today, Judith Howell, 32BJ, SEIU.
Congresswoman Bush: (41:07)
All right. My Sunrise youth, they my babies. And I want to say a good day to all of you. I am Judith Howell. I’m a security officer here in Washington, DC, and I’m a proud member of 32BJ and the Service Employees International Union. Let’s understand. And I’m gravely concerned about our planet, planet earth. It’s the only space ship I know. It’s the only spaceship we’ve got. The fight for climate justice is critically important to my union. We support the Green New Deal because we believe that working people can and must be a part of the process of reversing climate change. And the Citizens Climate Corp is a great first step in that action. But we must ensure that all of-
Congresswoman Bush: (42:03)
But we must ensure that all the service jobs, like cleaning and security, the buildings or infrastructure locations that receive federal investment are good jobs, paying good living wages and benefits like we get in the union. Climate advocacy is not new for us. 32BJ is a part of the People’s Climate Movement. 32BJ is a long time member of the Blue Green Alliance. And my union has an award-winning Green Supers Program, supers being the day porters and managers and superintendents that direct the cleaning in most of the buildings that are people either work in or have been away from during COVID working long distance. The Blue Green Alliance is made up of not only union people and community people, but building owners, especially in the coastal areas where they are afraid of their properties sinking. People who opposed us to getting unions in the first place now are in coalition with us to save their buildings so they can make a profit and we can earn a living.
Congresswoman Bush: (43:24)
We understand that without the Green New Deal, the political will won’t exist to force corporations to change their behavior. I say to that proud community where the pipeline was going, make that Canadian firm take their damn abandoned pipes with them, make that company down in Florida that left all that nuclear water, they should have been made to clean it up before they were allowed to close down and take their little bonuses and stock profits.
Congresswoman Bush: (43:59)
The greedy never care about the needy. Big oil, big coal, gas frackers and their lobbyists scare their workers into believing that change will ruin their livelihoods and take their jobs. But the Green New Deal and the Climate Corp will go to these communities first, where there’s no longer coal being dug out the earth. You don’t even know what it was there for. No longer oil being drilled from the earth. We will go to these communities first and give them new long lasting, clean, green employment and hope.
Congresswoman Bush: (44:41)
Communities have done the least to cause climate change. The working poor, people of color, displaced immigrants are disproportionately hurt the most. It is in fact that the poor and sick, many sickened by the pollutants that contribute to climate change, who are the least equipped to deal with bad air, increased heat waves, and rising sea levels. I pray every night when I say my prayers for the people around this country, the Navajo and the other indigenous on the reservations and those who are in the communities where the wineries and other corporate farmers can dig deeper than them, and they get up in houses that they bought as a part of the American dream and turn on the water and nothing comes out the faucet. I pray for them every night. They can’t sell their homes to anybody. They can’t go anywhere. And the American dream has become the American nightmare.
Congresswoman Bush: (45:42)
This is why I, Judith Howl, on behalf of my union, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ am joining the growing call on Congress to vote its conscience. These people have stood up and given you bills that will bring change, will bring a citizen Climate Corp, will bring a Green New Deal. Vote, vote. An overwhelming scientific evidence is there to back you to support the Green New Deal quickly, quickly. We must act now. The planet can’t wait and he the workers can’t wait.
Senator Ed Markey: (46:25)
Beautiful. Beautiful job. Beautiful, beautiful job, Judith. Thank you. Questions from anyone?
Speaker 7: (46:31)
[inaudible 00:46:31] Biden Administration’s proposal for housing. Can you guys speak to the leverage that you have in this moment, especially with the thin margins, to try to get the administration to [inaudible 00:46:44]?
Speaker 8: (46:44)
Can you repeat the question for the cameras?
Senator Ed Markey: (46:48)
Well, she’s essentially asking do we want to go beyond even what Joe Biden has proposed? And the answer is yes. We believe that this is the moment that requires us to act big, think big, have a program that matches the magnitude of the problem that we’re confronted with and to do so with justice as we create jobs for everyone, union jobs. So we’re here to say today that we are going to be calling for the highest aspirations that our country can reach. We’re saying that we want to lift the gaze to the constellation of possibilities for our country and for the world. And so we’re here today to say we want to go big, even bigger. I’ll let a Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez answer as well.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (47:43)
Yeah. Of course. As the Senator mentioned, if the question is do we intend on sending a message to the Biden Administration that we need to go bigger and bolder, then the answer is absolutely yes. We need to expand public housing stock in the United States. We need to commit and work with, as Representative Huffman mentioned, with our farmers and our ranchers to ensure that we go big and bold on regenerative agriculture in this country. We need to make sure that we’re investing in mass transit and really returned to the spirit of this national mall, which is we didn’t rely as a country on a corporation to build the Washington monument. The people built it. The public built it. I think that the Biden administration has already shown an adaptiveness that we certainly didn’t have in the previous administration to say the least, but especially on the issue of climate.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (48:39)
I must say last year we worked on the Climate Unity Task Force and the amount that we have negotiated that has already been incorporated in the Biden Administration’s approach so far is commendable. And we have to go bigger and bolder than that as well.
Senator Ed Markey: (48:57)
Speaker 7: (48:57)
[inaudible 00:48:57] haven’t gone as far as you want to go?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (49:02)
No, we’re reintroducing it because the people demand that we reintroduce it. We are reintroducing this legislation because we went to our communities. In our communities, we ran on this promise, we’re fulfilling our promises and we’re going to continue fighting for economic and environmental justice. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with our job to be accountable to the American people.
Senator Ed Markey: (49:22)
Great. Question? Question?
Speaker 7: (49:24)
Senator, are you having conversations with the White House right now? And also, are you having conversations with Republicans about this? Because right now with the filibuster in place in the Senate, you will probably need to get Republicans on board. What’s your path forward?
Senator Ed Markey: (49:40)
Well, we are in constant communication with the White House in terms of the boldness that we want to see in this plan. And with regard to Republicans, we want to see them come forward. A proposal of only $600 billion is clearly inadequate to the magnitude of the problem. So we don’t want to see a repetition of what just happened on the COVID relief package. We want, obviously for Republicans to come forward. We want them to support something that matches this incredible set of intersecting crises, which we’re facing in our country. But if they don’t come forward, then we have to pass it with a reconciliation, with 51 votes. And beyond that, we have to repeal the filibuster in order to ensure that we have the capacity to be able to deal with the problems that we’re facing in the same way Franklin Roosevelt did in 1933. This is our FDR moment. It’s 2021 and we cannot miss this historic opportunity. Question?
Speaker 9: (50:46)
To that end, Senator, I know you’re hoping that you can pass it through reconciliation. There’s been other democratic senators that have said that they’re not doing anything other than reconciliation. And this is for you Congresswoman, as well. Are you concerned about these messaging bills that put your moderate colleagues that are in at-risk districts being forced to say where they stand on a bill like this, especially given the fact that the margins are so tight in both the House and the Senate?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (51:13)
Well, I mean, first and foremost, this is legislation. It’s not a messaging bill. People’s right to housing is not a messaging bill. People’s guaranteed to healthcare is not a messaging bill. People’s ability to drink clean water is not a message. It is an action that we have to commit to. And when it comes to idea of a message or whatever it may be, I believe, personally, as Democrats, when people trust us with power, we have a responsibility to use it and steward it to benefit their lives. Period. And that means taking bold, courageous action.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (51:51)
So when it comes to are we going to be put on the spot, to me, the greatest risk is doing nothing on climate or doing too little. That is a greater political risk because when we have what happened in Texas just earlier this year, when we have the floods that happened in the Midwest just a year or two ago that left communities under water. That can be just as politically, environmentally and socially destabilizing. And so when it comes to the issues of reconciliation, the filibuster, et cetera, even if you want to just go down the political route, I think it’s much politically riskier to not pass legislation that changes people’s lives and send the message that a democratic majority won’t do much, which is why I’m proud that legislators have stood up and went bold on COVID relief and why we are pushing for them to continue down that path with an infrastructure package and further legislation as well.
Senator Ed Markey: (52:44)
Yeah. And again, as I said earlier, two years ago, on the day we were introducing the Green New Deal, General Motors was not planning on having no additional internal combustion engines being manufactured by 2035. The utility industry was not planning on having all renewable non-carbon emitting electricity by the year 2035. We did not have debates about how all of these issues came together, racial, health, educational housing, and climate issues. We weren’t having that debate. People were saying, “Why did you add those additional elements? What did they have to do with the climate debate?” Well, we don’t have to explain that to people any longer. We saw it on the streets of our country throughout all of 2020. So we’re going to continue in our efforts. We want to help to continue the process of education, activation, implementation of the highest goals that our country should be striving to achieve. Questions? Okay. Thank you all so much. Thanks for coming.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (53:54)
Thank you. Thank you everyone.
Speaker 8: (53:57)
Thanks. Great job. Great job. I love lift our gaze to the constellation. Awesome. Oh my God, gave me chills, Senator.
Senator Ed Markey: (54:10)
[crosstalk 00:54:10] Okay. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:54:12] Okay, good.