AOC calls for ‘wartime’ effort to defeat climate change, pushes for taxpayer-funded ‘climate corps’


AOC calls for a ‘wartime mobilization’ to defeat climate change and pushes for a Civilian Climate Corps with 1.5million members that could cost taxpayers $10billion

  • House and Senate Democrats pledged today that funding for a Civilian Climate Corps would be included in the upcoming budget reconciliation bill
  • Majority Leader Schumer vowed to get the ‘biggest, boldest CCC possible’
  • Ocasio-Cortez said half the funds would go to helping urban areas
  • The initiative’s funding would be part of Dems’ sweeping $3.5trillion budget
  • Dems want CCC members to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour plus benefits
  • AOC said roles within the Climate Corps would be ‘good union jobs’
  • She also said the program would be ‘even bigger and better’ than FDR’s landmark climate corps established in 1933 to help provide relief during the Depression 


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a ‘wartime scale’ effort to fight climate change in a press conference where progressive lawmakers pledged that money for a 1.5 million-strong ‘climate corps’ will be included in Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill. 

‘The question is not just if we are going to do it, but how – how big, how ambitious?’ the New York Democrat said Tuesday morning. ‘Our climate crisis today requires a peaceful but wartime scale mobilization in order to combat the climate crisis.’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who opened the press conference, said he would ‘ensure’ the climate corps is part of Democrats’ sweeping $3.5trillion budget bill.

‘I will fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible,’ Schumer said.    

Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez called for ‘a peaceful but wartime scale mobilization in order to combat the climate crisis’ at a press conference Tuesday morning

Ocasio-Cortez joined House and Senate Democrats to announce that funding for a 1.5 million-strong 'Climate Corps' would be included in an upcoming budget reconciliation bill - but whether it will match President Biden's initial $10 billion price tag for the program is unclear

Ocasio-Cortez joined House and Senate Democrats to announce that funding for a 1.5 million-strong ‘Climate Corps’ would be included in an upcoming budget reconciliation bill – but whether it will match President Biden’s initial $10 billion price tag for the program is unclear

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to use his leadership role to 'fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible'

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to use his leadership role to ‘fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible’

President Biden included $10billion for a Civilian Climate Conservation Corps in his original $2trillion American Jobs Plan, which struggled to gain Republican support. 

Ocasio-Cortez outlined an ambitious scope for how far the money should go.

She pledged that half of the CCC’s funds – which could be up to $5billion – would go ‘to making sure that this is not just going to our national parks and funding Climate Corps members to our national parks, but in urban communities as well to face environmental injustices.’  

She added that the millions of new positions would be ‘good union jobs.’ 

Democrats' idea for a Climate Corps is modeled after the original program created by Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression, where roughly 3 million men were employed to help build roads, dams and aid in natural disaster recovery across the country. (Pictured here are a group of 250,000 men doing government reforestation work in April 1933)

Democrats’ idea for a Climate Corps is modeled after the original program created by Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression, where roughly 3 million men were employed to help build roads, dams and aid in natural disaster recovery across the country. (Pictured here are a group of 250,000 men doing government reforestation work in April 1933)

Lawmakers aim for the new CCC to pay workers a minimum of $15 per hour - a big change in a public service sector where AmeriCorps and Peace Corps members get paid barely more than a small stipend (pictured is a Peace Corps volunteer and nurse tending to babies at a clinic in Malaysia in the 1960s)

Lawmakers aim for the new CCC to pay workers a minimum of $15 per hour – a big change in a public service sector where AmeriCorps and Peace Corps members get paid barely more than a small stipend (pictured is a Peace Corps volunteer and nurse tending to babies at a clinic in Malaysia in the 1960s)

The initiative would recruit 1,500,000 members by 2015 to ‘complete important projects across the entire country to help address the climate crisis,’ according to Senate Democrats’ Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act.

Lawmakers aim for a minimum pay of $15 per hour plus benefits. Otherwise fulfilling service sector roles are notorious for their low compensation like AmeriCorps, where workers are seen more as volunteers who receive a stipend and are encouraged, since they are compensated so little, to sign up for food stamps.

 The idea behind the CCC is modeled after the first Civilian Climate Corps, created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 during the Great Depression. 

Senate Democrats are hoping the reconciliation budget, which would allow them to bypass GOP support, could accomplish some of Biden's wish list with a 51-50 majority vote

Senate Democrats are hoping the reconciliation budget, which would allow them to bypass GOP support, could accomplish some of Biden’s wish list with a 51-50 majority vote

The program employed roughly 3 million young men to help build roads, dams, fight wildfires and aid in natural disaster relief across the country. Its nine-year run was interrupted by World War II. 

 The CCC is a part of a sweeping $3.5trillion budget reconciliation bill full of progressive priorities.

Under increasing pressure to pass infrastructure spending and with little Republican support, Senate Democrats are hoping to agree to a reconciliation budget which would allow them to bypass GOP lawmakers and accomplish Biden’s wish list with a 51-50 majority vote.  

‘I think that the beauty of reconciliation is that it’s not an “either/or” proposition, it’s a “yes, and?” proposition,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez said the program would be 'bigger and better' than the original CCC (pictured at a climate rally on June 28)

Ocasio-Cortez said the program would be ‘bigger and better’ than the original CCC (pictured at a climate rally on June 28)

‘This is not a pipe dream, and this is not some big, progressive vision that is “unrealistic” – this is what we have already done.’  

But Democrats hinted at bigger plans for the program’s revival.

‘Our mandate today is not just to revive some of the most ambitious programs and ideas, but so much of this is about how we go even bigger and better than we did originally,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.  

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