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Today, nearly 50 organizations released the Green New Deal Champions Pledge, aimed at pushing candidates to champion the climate policy we need when in office, and to hold current members accountable to a standard of support for the Green New Deal.
It's been three years since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal Resolution, which outlined a new vision for our country and our movement: one where we avert the worst of the climate crisis, create millions of good paying union jobs, and invest in communities on the front line of the climate crisis.
Since then, multiple pieces of substantial climate legislation, guided by communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis, have been introduced that build towards the Green New Deal. We know we need to win federal climate legislation to tackle this crisis, but we can't wait until we have the right majorities in Congress to get to work. We need to do everything we can right now, to pressure our elected officials to support the bills that will put us on the path to a Green New Deal -- that's how we'll set ourselves up to win legislation when the moment comes. The text of the pledge can be found here.
The Green New Deal continues to be popular with voters across the country. Recent polling from Data for Progress shows that Green New Deal bills have overwhelming support, while young people, a key voting block for Democrats, continue to support climate legislation and action by massive margins. The Green New Deal Pledge is expected to have the same effect as the popular No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, which has changed the nature of campaigning since its establishment by toxifying money from fossil fuel lobbyists, PACs, and executives.
Progressive movement groups, sitting elected officials, and congressional candidates issued the following statements on the pledge:
"I'm proud to sign this pledge. Our generation will be facing the repercussions of the climate policy decisions we make in the years to come. We deserve representatives who are accountable to their constituents, not fossil fuel companies." Nida Allam, NC-04 Congressional Candidate
"Texas working families are seeing the climate crisis first-hand -- whether it's winter storms, flooding, or tornadoes in our backyards. We need to tackle this crisis. We can create good union jobs and preserve our planet for future generations. The Green New Deal does both." Greg Casar, TX-35 Congressional Candidate
"I'm proud to sign the Green New Deal pledge. Our communities here in Chicago are in crisis -- climate change is an existential threat, racial and economic injustices are raging. We need bold solutions like the Green New Deal that will combat climate change, environmental racism, and the injustices that persist in Chicago. And we need a new generation of leaders who will fight for the Green New Deal with the urgency that this moment demands." Kina Collins, IL-07 Congressional Candidate
"New York's 3rd District is a coastal community that has been ravaged by extreme weather events, pollution and that is quickly running out of drinkable water. We cannot afford more delays or half-measures. We need bold climate action now that matches the scale and urgency of this crisis. It is critical that we realize a Green New Deal." Melanie D'Arrigo, NY-03 Congressional Candidate
"Here in North New Jersey, we know what it means to be on the front lines of climate catastrophe. We've seen the devastation from Hurricanes Sandy and Ida. We've watched as generation after generation of our kids suffer from asthma, lead poisoning, and other environmental harm. We know what it means to have to fight developers for every tiny inch of green space. But we also know what it means to have a good union job. We know what happens when we invest in local schools and art institutions. We've gotten a taste of the good that can come from putting people ahead of profits. We know that a just transition to a green economy is not just a dream, but a necessity, and when I'm in Congress, I'm going to join the fight to bring this crucial Green New Deal framework to fruition." Imani Oakley, NJ-10 Congressional Candidate
"My community is hurting. The climate crisis has claimed lives and livelihoods. A rigged economy has left us with wages that are stagnant, businesses closing, and new job opportunities few and far between. The Green New Deal takes on the defining challenges of our time and transforms them into the pathway to a brighter future. For the air I breathe, for the people I love, and for the place I call home, I'm taking the Green New Deal pledge and look forward to supporting this legislation in Congress." Erica Smith, NC-01 Congressional Candidate
"I am immensely proud to be an original Green New Deal Champion with an amazing list of colleagues and friends. It is easy to say that climate change is an existential crisis, but words aren't enough -- we need real legislation that delivers rapid, comprehensive, transformative change. While organizers continue to strengthen and define the Green New Deal from the bottom, this project holds those in power accountable to the demands of activists and cements robust economic and racial justice standards in the Green New Deal. We have a long way to go, but I encourage every Congressperson to join me in taking this next step. Together, we will win a Green New Deal this decade." Representative Andy Levin, MI-09
"The Green New Deal is about jobs, justice, and dismantling systemic racism that's poisoning the lungs and futures of Black and Brown people in St. Louis and all across the country. We need to act now, and that means making sure politicians understand the urgency of this crisis. I'm proud to be part of an effort to hold people in positions of power accountable to the solutions we know are needed to address environmental racism, confront the fossil fuel industry, and realize true climate justice." Representative Cori Bush, MO-01
"Since I introduced the Green New Deal with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, the climate crisis has only become more severe. We have to act now to deliver justice for communities on the frontlines of this crisis and create millions of green-collar jobs to save our economy and save our planet. I'm proud to stand with my colleagues in the House and Senate, and with an entire generation committed to climate justice, in the fight for a Green New Deal." Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts
"The threat posed by the climate crisis is growing by the day and we need to come together to take aggressive action to create a more sustainable economy and promote environmental justice. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution and I will keep fighting to pass my BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act to deliver robust federal investment to help fight the growing climate crisis, spur innovation, and boost demand for American-made clean energy products." Senator Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts
"The science is clear, climate change is at the root of many of our societal problems. From increasing catastrophic weather events to racial injustice and everything in-between, our most vulnerable communities continue to be harmed. That is why I support a Green New Deal, a growing package of bills which will ensure that our next generation can live healthy lives, access strong union jobs, increase climate resiliency, and ensure that all communities have the resources necessary to thrive. It is time to put climate justice at the forefront of our policy decisions, and I am proud to be a part of that fight." Representative Jan Schakowsky, IL-09
"There is no denying that the climate crisis is at our doorsteps and continues to disproportionately devastate young, Black, brown, and immigrant communities both in the U.S. and around the world. From undocumented farmworkers facing increasingly deadly wildfires in places like California to millions of climate refugees displaced by extreme flooding, droughts, and other disasters, it's clear that there is no climate justice without immigrant justice and racial justice. The Green New Deal Resolution, alone, is not enough to combat the worsening climate catastrophe. In order to ensure ALL communities are protected, elected officials must also deliver on other bold, progressive legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people without growing detention and enforcement, like the Dream and Promise Act, and helps pave the way for a more just future for Black and brown immigrant communities bearing the brunt of climate change." Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, Senior Advocacy Manager of United We Dream
"The Green New Deal means robust public investment to transition off of fossil fuels translating into unprecedented investment in the well-being of everyday working people -- our jobs, our utility bills, our health, and our future. The GND Pledge allows us to show candidates and the world what support for a Green New Deal really means, and allows us to talk about how the GND will deliver for working people. The Working Families Party is proud to support it." Maurice Mitchell, National Director of Working Families Party
"As fossil fuel corporations destroy our communities and profit off of working families at the gas pump, our government has yet to pass climate legislation that meets the moment of crisis. And yet, support for the Green New Deal has never been greater. That's why we're launching Green New Deal Champions because we need members of Congress and elected officials to fight as hard as they can for the Green New Deal. We must pass the climate bills that make the GND a reality -- the GND Resolution is our North Star and the GND bills help us get there." Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement
"The Green New Deal Champions effort provides an exciting opportunity to advance a transformative agenda to end the fossil era, help working people, and catalyze a just energy transition. Rejecting fossil fuel money and committing to these key bills to phase out fossil fuels and build an equitable clean energy future are now clear requirements for politicians claiming the mantle of 'climate leadership.' With dozens of critical primary and general elections this year, we'll see which candidates and elected officials are truly willing to stand up to Big Oil and Gas's lies and fight for our communities." Collin Rees, Political Director at Oil Change U.S.
"In order for the federal government to do big things, rural communities and their local leaders must be involved. That is what we have learned from our work advocating for the American Rescue Plan. The Green New Deal and its advocates recognize the wealth of contributions and thought partnership that come from America's diverse rural communities; rural communities are not only the places where carbon is absorbed, these are the frontline communities facing both the most intense climate disasters and also some of the most innovative economic transitions. The Green New Deal principles, in partnership with rural communities across the country, can help us all mitigate the worst of our possible futures." RuralOrganizing.org
The list of current Green New Deal Champions, Green New Deal Pledge Signers, and endorsing organizations are below:
Members of Congress Who Are Current Green New Deal Champions:
Congressional Candidates Who Have Signed the Green New Deal Pledge:
Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.
"The GOP claims doing so is necessary in the interest of $11 billion in deficit reduction. But at the same time, they have doubled down on tax cuts skewed to the rich and special interests."
The Biden White House late Friday accused Republicans of attempting to "take food out of the mouths of hungry Americans" by imposing new work requirements on recipients of federal nutrition assistance, a public rebuke of the GOP that came as negotiators worked to finalize a debt ceiling agreement.
Additional work requirements appear to be among the final sticking points in the time-sensitive talks, with the GOP insisting on their inclusion in any agreement to raise the debt limit.
In a statement Friday night, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said the GOP's proposed work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are "designed to tie the most vulnerable up in bureaucratic paperwork" and "have shown no benefit for bringing more people into the workforce."
"The GOP claims doing so is necessary in the interest of $11 billion in deficit reduction," said Bates. "But at the same time, they have doubled down on tax cuts skewed to the rich and special interests that would add $3.5 trillion to our debt."
House Republicans have demanded new work requirements for recipients of SNAP, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—many of whom already work.
Asked Friday whether the GOP would be willing to drop its push for work requirements, Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.)—the party's lead negotiator—said, "Hell no."
"Hell no," he repeated. "Not a chance."
The White House has spoken out against new work requirements for SNAP and Medicaid, but it's unclear whether it opposes fresh work mandates for TANF, which replaced the more generous Aid to Families With Dependent Children program under the Clinton welfare reform law that Biden supported as a senator.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, welcomed the White House's statement against SNAP work requirements, which analysts say could strip food aid from millions of people amid a worsening hunger crisis.
"The president is calling out MAGA GOP hypocrisy of refusing to raise the debt ceiling so the economy doesn't crash simply to take food from hungry people," Jayapal tweeted Saturday. "When you count admin[istrative] costs of bureaucratic red tape, this would produce ZERO savings. Isn't and has never been about saving money."
The White House issued its statement amid growing progressive concerns over the concessions the Biden administration has reportedly granted to GOP hostage-takers.
On Friday, watchdogs, Democratic lawmakers, and policy analysts responded with outrage to reports that the Biden White House is leaning toward accepting Republicans' demand for IRS funding cuts—a giveaway to rich tax cheats.
Progressives have also voiced alarm over reports that the emerging debt ceiling deal includes a two-year cap on non-military federal spending, which would result in cuts to key domestic programs.
"Any deal is a disaster since most government departments and agencies are currently severely underfunded," warned Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project.
"We knew this was coming," wrote one policy expert. "But we still treat these burdens like they're unavoidable natural disasters."
With a green light from the federal government, states across the U.S. have thrown hundreds of thousands of low-income people off Medicaid in recent weeks—and many have lost coverage because they failed to navigate bureaucratic mazes, not because they were no longer eligible.
More than a dozen states, including Florida and other Republican-led states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, have begun removing people from Medicaid as part of the "unwinding" of a pandemic-era federal policy that temporarily barred governments from kicking people off the program.
In a bipartisan deal late last year, Congress agreed to cut off the pandemic protections, giving states 12 months to redetermine who is eligible for the healthcare program that covers tens of millions of Americans.
The process differs in each state, but Medicaid enrollees are typically required to complete paperwork verifying their income, address, disability status, and other factors used to determine eligibility for the program.
While some states have undertaken public outreach campaigns to ensure Medicaid recipients understand what they need to do to continue receiving benefits, most enrollees across the country "were not aware that states are now permitted to resume disenrolling people from the Medicaid program," according to new survey data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
As a result, The New York Timesreported Friday, "many people lost coverage for procedural reasons, such as when Medicaid recipients did not return paperwork to verify their eligibility or could not be located."
"The large number of terminations on procedural grounds suggests that many people may be losing their coverage even though they are still qualified for it," the newspaper added. "Many of those who have been dropped have been children."
Early data released by the state of Florida, for example, shows that more than 205,000 people in the state lost coverage for procedural reasons after April eligibility checks.
"We knew this was coming. But we still treat these burdens like they're unavoidable natural disasters," said Pamela Herd, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. "We need to be much more explicit about these failures because we're making a choice to allow this."
Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, said she is "very worried about Florida."
"We've heard the call center's overwhelmed, the notices are very confusing in Florida—they're very hard to understand," said Alker.
In a recent letter to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, more than 50 advocacy groups demanded a Medicaid redetermination pause, pointing to "reports of Floridians being disenrolled from Medicaid without having received notice" from the state's Department of Children and Families (DCF).
"One of these individuals is a 7-year-old boy in remission from Leukemia who is now unable to access follow-up—and potentially lifesaving—treatments," the groups wrote. "Families with children have been erroneously terminated, and parents are having trouble reaching the DCF call center for help with this process. Additionally, unclear notices and lack of information on how to appeal contribute to more confusion."
"We are deeply concerned about those with serious, acute, and chronic conditions who will continue to lose access to their lifesaving treatments during this time, along with people who risk substantial medical debt, or even bankruptcy, as a result of coverage loss," the groups added.
\u201cWhat if instead we just gave everyone health insurance coverage??!! \nhttps://t.co/hSOQKYU7JY\u201d— Ady Barkan (@Ady Barkan) 1685130002
The Times highlighted the situation in Arkansas, which is led by Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders—a supporter of Medicaid work requirements and other attacks on the program. (Work requirements were briefly tried in Arkansas in 2018 and 2019, with disastrous consequences.)
"In Arkansas, more than 1.1 million people—over a third of the state's residents—were on Medicaid at the end of March ," the Times noted Friday. "In April, the first month that states could begin removing people from the program, about 73,000 people lost coverage, including about 27,000 children 17 and under."
An Arkansas law requires the state to complete its Medicaid eligibility reviews in six months instead of 12.
In a Wall Street Journalop-ed earlier this month, Sanders wrote that her state is booting people from Medicaid at "the fastest pace in the nation" and claimed those being removed are "ineligible participants"—ignoring evidence that many being stripped of coverage were technically still eligible.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has estimated that upwards of 15 million people nationwide could lose Medicaid coverage during the redetermination process.
"This is such an enormous policy failure—profoundly cruel and will contribute to furthering inequities," Dr. Cecília Tomori, a public health scholar at Johns Hopkins University, wrote Friday.
While some who lose Medicaid will be able to access insurance through an employer or the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, KFF found that more than four in ten people with Medicaid as their only source of healthcare "say they wouldn't know where to look for other coverage or would be uninsured" if they were removed from the program.
"This is about to happen to a lot of people," warned Larry Levitt, KFF's executive vice president for health policy.
The Times pointed to the case of 54-year-old Arizona resident Debra Miller, who "lost Medicaid coverage in April after her roughly $25,000 annual salary as a Burger King cook left her ineligible."
"Ms. Miller, a single mother with diabetes and hypothyroidism, worked with an insurance counselor at North Country HealthCare, a network of federally funded health clinics, to enroll in a marketplace plan with a roughly $70 monthly premium," the Times reported.
Miller told the newspaper that the new plan is a "struggle" both because of the new monthly payment and because it doesn't include the vision coverage she needs and now may not be able to afford.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this week that states' Medicaid eligibility checks will likely leave 6.2 million people without any insurance at all.
"The American people deserve to understand why you are supporting even more deficit-busting tax giveaways for giant corporations, while also cheerleading Republican demands to inflict painful, job-killing austerity on everyone else."
The Republican Party's debt-ceiling hostage scheme has benefited from the support of the United States' largest corporate lobbying organization, which has given its stamp of approval to the GOP's push for major federal spending cuts, punitive new work requirements for aid programs, and permitting changes sought by the fossil fuel industry.
While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) office has reportedly not met with representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during the debt ceiling standoff, a representative of the powerful business group said earlier this week that such a meeting would be pointless given that the Chamber and the GOP are so closely aligned.
Neil Bradley, the Chamber's chief policy officer, toldPolitico earlier this week that a meeting with McCarthy would be a "cheerleading session."
"I see the relationship as respectful, so I'm not worried about wasting his time to come in and say, 'Look how much I agree with you,'" said Bradley, who previously served as McCarthy's deputy chief of staff.
In a letter to the Chamber's chief executive on Friday, a trio of Democratic senators led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed Bradley's remarks and demanded to know "how the Chamber justifies supporting the Republican agenda of continued tax cuts for the wealthy, while cheerleading for threats to impose a default and austerity for everyone else."
"Instead of pressing the speaker to drop his radical demands and pass a clean debt limit increase, Bradley noted that the Chamber has pressed the White House to come to a bipartisan agreement with McCarthy," the letter reads. "Indeed, Bradley noted that the Chamber is aligned with House Republicans on their debt ceiling demands, including on spending caps, work requirements, and energy permitting."
Warren, joined by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), accused the Chamber of fully backing the GOP's "shameless hypocrisy" by lobbying for tax breaks that Republicans are expected to include in a tax cut package coming sometime next month.
"The American people deserve to understand why you are supporting even more deficit-busting tax giveaways for giant corporations, while also cheerleading Republican demands to inflict painful, job-killing austerity on everyone else in a pretense of 'fiscal responsibility,'" the senators wrote, demanding to know how much the Chamber has spent on tax-related lobbying this year and what discussions the group has had with Republicans on the House's tax-writing committee.
According to OpenSecrets, the Chamber has spent more than $19 million total on federal lobbying so far this year—the most of any organization. The Chamber says it has met with more than 150 Republican and Democratic lawmakers throughout the debt ceiling fight, which GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) publicly described as a hostage situation.
The Democratic senators' letter came as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the federal government will run out of money to meet its obligations by June 5 if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling.
The Washington Postreported Friday that White House and GOP negotiators are "closing in on an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling by two years—a key priority of the Biden administration—while also essentially freezing government spending on domestic programs and slightly increasing funding for the military and veterans affairs."
When accounting for inflation, keeping non-military spending flat would mean potentially significant real-term cuts to key aid programs, from nutrition assistance to housing.
The Chamber has openly endorsed the GOP push for spending caps and warned President Joe Biden against using his 14th Amendment authority to unilaterally prevent a default, claiming such a move would be "as economically calamitous as a default."
On Friday, a top Treasury Department official said the White House will not invoke its 14th Amendment authority to continue paying the nation's bills if talks with the GOP collapse.