On the heels of President Joe Biden unveiling the second prong of his infrastructure proposal, progressives in Congress came together Thursday to formally introduce sweeping legislation that would invest $10 trillion over a decade in advancing climate, economic, and racial justice while putting 15 million people nationwide to work.
"We need good-paying union jobs, we need justice for all, and we need to act on climate."
—Sen. Ed Markey
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are spearheading the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act (pdf), which they announced last month, building on a resolution introduced last September. Several other Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are supporting the bill.
The THRIVE Act's introduction comes as Biden is pushing for his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan and as people worldwide are still dealing with the human and economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed over 574,000 people in the United States, nearly a fifth of the global death toll.
"Our country is facing four overlapping crises—mounting economic inequity, the climate crisis, racial injustice, and the coronavirus pandemic—and the THRIVE Act will ensure we have an intersectional response that is proportionate to the scope of the problems we face," Markey said in a statement. "We need good-paying union jobs, we need justice for all, and we need to act on climate."
"Last night, we heard President Biden's vision for how to recover from the crises we face," Markey noted, referencing the president's first address to Congress. "The THRIVE Act would bring the scale, scope, and standards that we need to make an equitable recovery happen and ensure that all people, everywhere, can truly thrive."
Green New Deal Network and Progressive Champions introduce THRIVE https://t.co/y4RSSYsT9T
— Green New Deal Network (@GND_Network) April 29, 2021
The bill would establish a THRIVE board of presidentially appointed representatives from impacted and Indigenous communities as well as labor unions to help guide at least $1 trillion in annual investments from Fiscal Years 2022 to 2031.
As Dingell's office outlined, the THRIVE Act would:
- Upgrade our infrastructure for clean water, affordable public transit, and a reliable electric grid (creating five million jobs);
- Expand access to wind and solar power, electric vehicles, and healthy buildings (creating four million jobs);
- Protect our rural and urban spaces, wetlands, prairies, forests and support family farmers who are embracing regenerative agriculture (creating four million jobs); and
- Invest in public institutions and care for children and the elderly—essential work that is underpaid and largely performed by women of color (creating two million jobs).
"We're in a pivotal moment right now to switch gears from relief to recovery," Dingell declared, advocating for "intersectional policies that make the economy work for everyone" and ensuring that "we're recovering with a focus on justice and healing."
Co-sponsor Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) asserted that "in the richest country in the world, everyone should be able to live in a stable home, with good-paying union jobs, access to child care and family leave, with clean air and drinkable water. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made that dream even further out of reach for many Americans."
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"Millions of Americans have fallen further into poverty during the current crisis—disproportionately people of color, women, and Indigenous people," she said. "Whether it's poverty, climate change, or racial inequities, we need solutions that meet the scale of the challenges we face. The THRIVE Act is that solution."
We need to finally deliver policies that help people thrive and not just survive.
The THRIVE Act meets the scale of the massive environmental crisis we’re facing. Read what’s in it https://t.co/mh637pY9pi
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) April 28, 2021
The bill's other key co-sponsors are Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as well as Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
Many of them are also co-sponsoring the Green New Deal Resolution (pdf) recently reintroduced by Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and related legislation on cities, public housing, and a Civilian Climate Corps. On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) will join with People's Action and the Sunrise Movement for a phone bank urging lawmakers to support those bills and "pass a bold $10 trillion jobs and infrastructure package as a critical first step towards the GND."
People's Action and Sunrise are also among dozens of groups supporting the THRIVE Act, along with the Center for Popular Democracy, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Green New Deal Network, Greenpeace USA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Physicians for Social Responsibility, United We Dream, the Working Families Party, and 350.org.
"Our movement has already handed President Biden the plan he needs to end the unemployment crisis, combat climate change, and deliver a just, equitable recovery from Covid-19: the THRIVE Act. Anything less is a failure to fully grasp the scale of the interconnected challenges that we're facing," said Greenpeace USA climate campaigner Ashley Thomson. "This is a moment for the president to be bold, and to listen to the wisdom of the very communities that organized to put him in office."
“#THRIVEAct makes care work core to our economic recovery. healthcare, childcare, domestic workers, teachers, or elder care, COVID has only emphasized how critical it is to invest in the social infrastructure that makes our society whole.” Sofia, @mujrsunidas #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/zZg8f6sbdE
— GGJ (@ggjalliance) April 29, 2021
"Last night, President Biden shared his vision for an America 'on the move.' But the president's proposals would only keep working families moving for so long before the same crises we face today cause another devastating collapse," said Working Families Party national director Maurice Mitchell. "That's why today, Democrats in Congress are introducing the THRIVE Act, a recovery plan that uses bold government action to solve our biggest emergencies."
"Now, President Biden and the rest of Democrats in Congress have an important choice to make," he said. "We can choose to emerge from this pandemic with the inequities, injustices, and climate pollution that existed before, or we can choose the path made possible with the THRIVE Act: to transform, heal, and renew our country, and keep working families moving forward for generations to come."