Biden Must Invest in the Future, Not Bail Out the Past – Greenpeace Response to the American Jobs Plan

by Ryan Schleeter

March 31, 2021

"Our movement has given President Biden a blueprint for creating 15 million jobs while furthering racial and economic justice, and we will accept nothing less."

People's Climate

Washington, DC, March 31, 2021 — Today, the White House revealed additional details of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan for infrastructure and economic recovery. The plan directs Congress to:

  • Invest $2.25 trillion over the next eight years to create 5 million jobs upgrading the nation’s infrastructure and strengthening the care economy;
  • Eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel corporations, though it does not include a full list of subsidies and loopholes, or specify by how much;
  • Invest $16 billion in a job creation program cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells;
  • Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and strengthen labor standards; and
  • Accelerate clean electricity generation through tax credits and federal procurement standards.

In response, Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Ashley Thomson said:

“Fossil fuel pollution killed 350,000 Americans in 2018 alone [1]. Not a dime of our tax dollars should go towards corporations that wreck our climate and poison Black communities, Indigenous people, and other communities of color. We applaud President Biden’s decision to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel corporations as part of the American Jobs Plan and urge Congress to follow through by passing the End Polluter Welfare Act [2].”

“At the same time, the president’s ambition in this moment does not meet the scale of the interlocking crises facing our country. It is not enough to go back to normal. Our movement has given President Biden a blueprint for creating 15 million jobs while furthering racial and economic justice, and we will accept nothing less. Furthermore, we are concerned that the plan presents itself as a counterweight to ‘the ambitions of an autocratic China.’ This type of nationalistic sentiment has no place in our future, and only fans the flames of xenophobia. Following a year of rising hate crimes against AAPI communities, we urge President Biden to remember that he was elected with a mandate to advance racial justice, not perpetuate Trump’s divisive rhetoric.”

Fossil fuel corporations receive $20 billion in direct subsidies every year, including $15 billion from the federal government [3]. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies has long been popular with voters across party lines. A recent Data for Progress poll found that 55 percent of all voters support ending fossil fuel subsidies compared to just 26 percent opposed [4]. Support is even higher among Democrats.

Advocates are calling on Biden to shift investment away from polluting industries and toward climate, economic, and racial justice as a pillar of his COVID recovery efforts. Earlier today, grassroots activists all over the country mobilized to demand a comprehensive federal economic recovery and infrastructure package modeled after the THRIVE Agenda. Endorsed by more than 100 members of Congress and 300 leading unions, racial justice, and climate groups, the THRIVE Agenda would invest $1 trillion per year to immediately create more than 15 million good jobs and end the unemployment crisis, cut climate pollution in half by 2030, and advance racial, Indigenous, gender, environmental, and economic justice.

ENDS

Notes:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/09/fossil-fuels-pollution-deaths-research

[2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/4887/text?r=10&s=1

[3] https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-fossil-fuel-subsidies-a-closer-look-at-tax-breaks-and-societal-costs

[4] https://www.dataforprogress.org/blog/2020/9/2/voters-want-to-cancel-fossil-fuels

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected]

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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