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Rush Leads 80+ House and Senate Democrats in Letter Urging Inclusion of Civilian Climate Corps in Final Reconciliation Deal

July 20, 2021

Rush previously introduced RENEW Conservation Corps Act to establish 21st Century Conservation Corps

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Oh.), and U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), led a letter signed by over 80 lawmakers urging inclusion of a Civilian Climate Corps in the final budget reconciliation deal. Initial reporting of the Senate's framework for a deal notes general support for the concept, but the final funding and details will be agreed upon in the coming weeks.

The group of bicameral leaders, who have been long-time advocates for the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, laid out their joint vision on goals, labor standards, and structure of the program in a letter to House and Senate leadership today. While each of the legislators have previously introduced their own bills outlining a vision for the Civilian Climate Corps, this is the first time the coalition is coming together to agree upon their priorities.

"At the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment crisis and the impacts of a warming climate, we have a historic opportunity to make bold investments in our public lands, clean energy, and climate resiliency, all while creating good-paying jobs, building a diverse workforce, and strengthening career pathways. It is in the spirit of this conviction and dedication that we write to express our strong support for funding a Civilian Climate Corps in the upcoming reconciliation package," the Members wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer.

In their letter, the Members asked that the Civilian Climate Corps:

  • Prioritize projects that invest in natural climate solutions, clean energy, and climate resilience, and which address environmental justice;
  • Sets ambitious labor standards, including by providing a living wage, robust education awards, full healthcare coverage and support for childcare, housing, transportation, and education;
  • Invests in equitable and diverse Corps membership by recruiting from frontline environmental justice communities and offering opportunities for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, refugees and asylees, and veterans;
  • Is implemented through AmeriCorps and other national, state, and local service organizations to build on and scale up existing infrastructure;
  • Includes robust funding for the many programs and activities in which Corps members will engage including at the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and others, to provide the needed workforce for Federal programs to fulfill their full potential to mitigate climate impacts; and
  • Follows the lead of local communities.

The full text of the letter is available HERE.

The letter is endorsed by over 45 local, state, and national organizations. Quotes in support are available. HERE.

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