(USA Features) Climate change activists and organizations are imploring House Democrats to use their leverage as the majority party to enact portions of the “Green New Deal” as part of any coronavirus relief package.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a 1,400-page bill that provides some economic support to Americans and businesses, but also provides billions in funding for so-called “green” initiatives, as well as mandates that critics say are unnecessary at this time and harmful to the economy the package seeks to lift.
“Congress: don’t waste this chance,” tweeted global-warming guru Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, according to the Washington Times.
“If you’re going to bail out corporations, in return demand that they take serious climate action. We could actually work on both crises at once!”
In an updated statement Monday, “5 Principles for Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus,” hundreds of environmental groups, including 350.org, Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace, pushed for a recovery while also meeting the goals of the Green New Deal.
They include public investments to “rebuild our infrastructure, replace lead pipes, expand wind and solar power, build clean and affordable public transmit, weatherize our buildings … restore our wetlands and forests, expand public services that support climate resilience, and support regenerative agriculture led by family farmers.”
On Monday Democrats blocked Senate efforts to pass a virus relief bill, leading to outrage from Republicans who said Pelosi was putting her party’s ideological wish list ahead of the national interest by delaying critical funds to hospitals and small businesses to “dust off the Green New Deal,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it.
Meanwhile, James Taylor, senior fellow at the free-market Heartland Institute, called it “unconscionable that Democrats are holding coronavirus relief for millions of Americans hostage to completely unrelated extremist climate demands.”
“American lives and Americans’ ability to feed themselves and make rent and mortgage payments are far more important than imposing climate restrictions on airplanes and giving more handouts to the wind and solar industries,” said Taylor, the Times reported.
“Politicians who believe unemployed Americans are less important than climate activism and wind power have no moral justification holding office.”
JunkScience’s Steve Milloy, a member of the Trump EPA transition team, added that Democrats are “more worried about not letting the coronavirus go to political waste than they are about protecting public health and rescuing the economy.”