President Biden made big promises about a new, green infrastructure plan that would mitigate the effects of climate change. But just six months into his presidency, White House negotiators are already making a deal with senators to backpedal on the big changes necessary to attain climate goals. The new bipartisan deal is going to drastically slow down the transition to a green economy — making it way too slow, according to activists.
For example, instead of Biden’s proposed $174 billion for developing the electric vehicle market, the new plan allocates $15 billion to electric vehicle infrastructure. Many people aren’t surprised by this reduction, saying it was a long shot that such major climate legislation could ever get through Congress. Many Republicans believe an infrastructure bill should stick to transportation issues without including climate provisions.
“We made serious compromises on both ends. … We’ll see what happens in the reconciliation bill and the budget process,” Biden said.
Young activists from the Sunrise Movement aren’t willing to compromise. On June 28, hundreds of them gathered in front of the White House to call for “transformative” climate policy. Missouri Representative Cori Bush and New York Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman joined the protest and spoke on the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
The activists highlighted the connections between climate action, policing, discrimination and environmental racism. “They occupy our streets,” Congressman Bowman said at the protest. “They mass incarcerate us, but they leave us food insecure, in transportation deserts, and our buildings and schools falling apart. Fuck that!” Secret Service agents proceeded to arrest several activists for blocking all ten White House entrances.
Democrats are now developing a second attempt to pass Biden’s climate change measures in a separate bill, which might also include programs related to education, healthcare, and child and eldercare. Officials refer to these areas as “human infrastructure.” This bill may pass through a complex budget process known as reconciliation, which would allow it to bypass Republicans.
Lead image © Ken Schles