Democrats unveil green alternative for U.S. economic stimulus

Source: By Valerie Volcovici, Reuters • Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a U.S. economic recovery agenda that would bolster union jobs while tackling climate change and racial injustice – a wide ranging alternative to Republican proposals for stimulating the coronavirus-battered economy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Representative Deb Haaland introduced the resolution called THRIVE (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy), which so far has 83 congressional co-sponsors, including Senator Ed Markey and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, co-authors of the Green New Deal.

“It is the duty of the Federal Government to respond to the crises of racial injustice, mass unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change with a bold and holistic national mobilization,” the resolution says.

Republicans have resisted efforts to use economic stimulus to further environmental or social issues. Disagreements between the parties have contributed to an impasse over new measures to help the country recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The new resolution calls for federal investments to boost renewable energy and retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, giving workers the right to organize, protecting minority communities affected by air and water pollution and defending tribal sovereignty.

“We have an opportunity to not just recover from these interlocking crises, but to thrive by creating millions of good-paying, union, clean, green jobs while building a more just, healthy, and stable economy that leaves no one behind,” Haaland said in a statement.

Supporters say the resolution contains several elements of the Green New Deal, a sweeping climate change agenda that did not have support from party moderates and energy industry unions.

“The THRIVE Agenda is in line with the Green New Deal but tailored to meet the current moment,” said Ryan Schleeter of Greenpeace, one of over 150 groups to back the resolution alongside the NAACP and the Service Employees International Union.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bill Berkrot