Late Monday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led 68 Members in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi expressing their support for $30 billion to be dedicated to the Civilian Climate Corps in the reconciliation package. This funding will ensure the program is equitable and at the scale we need to respond to the climate crisis. The full letter is available here.
“Last year, we experienced a record breaking twenty-two extreme weather events totaling $98.9 billion in losses. As we make public investments in building a clean and resilient economy that works for all of us, we will need a substantial budgetary commitment to building the physical and social infrastructure that will make communities climate-resilient and establish a clean workforce. By providing $30 billion for the new CCC, we can ensure that this program is equitable, accessible to all, and established at the size and scale we need to respond to the climate crisis and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs with a pathway to union membership,” reads the letter.
The letter was co-led by Reps. Joe Neguse, Judy Chu, Marcy Kaptur and Bobby L. Rush. Quotes from those Members follow.
“From the West and Great Plains, to the Coasts and Great Lakes, we are witnessing the wreckage brought about by a changing climate whose ferocity knows no bounds. Our success in tackling this challenge will require bold, innovative strategies commensurate with the scope of the threats we face. Fully funding a Civilian Climate Corps will help to create the good-paying jobs necessary to conserve our environment, and set us on a path toward a brighter, more sustainable future,” said Rep. Kaptur.
“In the face of multiple challenges that our communities in Colorado are facing: unemployment, catastrophic wildfires and climate change, creation of a Civilian Climate Corps will bring in essential resources to put Coloradans back to work, restore our lands and our communities,” said Congressman Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “By providing $30 billion for the new CCC, we can ensure that this program meets our vision, and is equitable, accessible to all, provides good pay, benefits, job opportunities and education benefits and can meet the size and scale required in responding to the climate crisis. The urgency of this moment recalls past chapters of national mobilization, and in standing up the Civilian Climate Corps, we will build on that legacy and existing infrastructure to meet the challenges of today.”
“For far too long, we have not given the climate crisis the attention and resources needed to mitigate the worst effects. And that is having serious consequences for us as, today, California is facing an historic drought and another devastating fire season. But now, we have the opportunity to change that with the Build Back Better Act. Including an investment of $30 billion to create a robust Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) will help vulnerable communities across the country while providing job opportunities and skills training for countless people. I am proud to join in leading this effort to ensure that the CCC rises to the scale of the crisis,” said Rep. Chu.
“At a time when millions of people across the country desperately need good-paying jobs, underserved communities are suffering from a lack of green space, and our national parks are in a state of disrepair, a Civilian Climate Corps is a commonsense investment that must be robustly funded in any reconciliation package. A 21st-century CCC would help us fight poverty, uplift and upskill young workers, and combat climate crisis simultaneously,” said Rep. Rush.
Previously, on September 10th, 120 organizations representing labor, conservation, youth, national service, and movements for racial, economic, and climate justice wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to express support for $30 billion in funding for a new Civilian Climate Corps. Quotes from those organizations follow.
“For decades, local Corps programs have engaged young Americans in workforce development and meaningful projects that improve the environment and strengthen communities. The Corps model works. We have an opportunity to expand Corps programs to build a more sustainable future and address the serious climate challenges our country faces,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network. “We thank those in Congress championing a Civilian Climate Corps. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure this new CCC is accessible to all young Americans.”
“Millions of people are being devastated by catastrophic floods and wildfires, losing loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods,” said Lauren Maunus, Advocacy Director of Sunrise Movement. “The climate crisis is here and we need good paying jobs that will help prevent and respond to our dueling economic and climate crisis. Congress must fully fund a Civilian Climate Corps to mobilize a workforce to stop the climate crisis and invest in strengthening our communities.”
“A bold Civilian Climate Corps, utilizing the power of national service, has the potential to address the critical issue of climate change while bringing young people together in common purpose,” said Kristen Bennett, Chief Strategy Officer at Service Year Alliance. “Service Year Alliance is proud to endorse a $30 billion CCC that is equitable, engages diverse Americans, builds more resilient communities, and puts young people on pathways to good-paying climate jobs. Our goal is to make national service an opportunity and expectation for all young people, and we believe any investment in the CCC should increase the living allowance and benefits for all national service programs to ensure the opportunity to serve is accessible to all young people.”
“Defend Our Future supports investments from Congress that are equitable, provide opportunities for young people and drive real climate solutions. And that’s exactly why we support a Civilian Climate Corps, which would put more people – particularly young people — in good-paying jobs to help protect communities around the country against the threat of climate change. We thank Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for her steadfast leadership on this issue,” said Defend Our Future’s director, Kyli Wagner.
“We are facing unprecedented, intersecting existential crises that threaten our sense of normalcy, our shared humanity, and our planet,” said Jackie Ostfeld, director of Sierra Club’s Outdoors for All campaign. “An ambitious CCC program will help us build healthy and safe communities, restore ecosystems, and protect our environment from the impacts of climate change. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs while taking on the major crises of our era — we cannot afford to go small.”
“For nearly three decades, AmeriCorps members have helped communities tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. If properly resourced, the Civilian Climate Corps can build on that legacy, provide robust economic and educational opportunity, and promote an inclusive and equitable corps,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “There is a diverse and growing support for establishing a bold and equitable CCC to reinvent, reimagine, and rebuild America. There is also strong support for improving benefits to all AmeriCorps members, so that Americans providing critical public health, nutrition, education, and other services may also benefit from the same economic, educational and career pathway opportunities.”
“America Forward, the nonpartisan policy initiative of national venture philanthropy organization New Profit, sees the Civilian Climate Corps as an innovative strategy to address two critical challenges — preparing young adults for a productive future and protecting the environment. We urge Congress to waste no time in taking this bold but essential step,” said Deborah Smolover, America Forward Executive Director and New Profit Managing Partner.
“National service has a long history in conservation, climate, and disaster resiliency work, and an established network of 52 governor-appointed state service commissions and hundreds of local AmeriCorps programs that have the experience to develop a successful modern-era Civilian Climate Corps (CCC). The CCC is an historic opportunity to invest in a flagship AmeriCorps program to launch the next generation of climate stewards on a path to good-paying jobs while addressing critical issues in disproportionately impacted communities,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions and the States for Service Coalition. “We thank all the signers for their efforts and for recognizing the importance of national service and making it easier to serve in programs like AmeriCorps to address one of the biggest environmental, health, and economic challenges of our time.”