Biden Urged to Spend $4 Trillion by Labor, Environment Groups
(Bloomberg) -- Labor unions and environmental groups are joining forces to lobby the White House and Democratic congressional leaders to back $4 trillion worth of spending in the coming long-term economic plan -- in a sign that sometimes testy relations between the two constituencies are thawing.
While Biden administration officials have indicated they’re considering roughly $3 trillion worth of measures as part of the next program, groups including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the progressive Sunrise Movement argue that more is needed. Additional funds will be required to fight climate change and systemic racism, and guarantee labor rights while helping the nation overcome the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.
“We urge you to seize this critical window of opportunity to pass bold economic-recovery legislation that responds to the interwoven crises facing this country,” some 16 groups wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We need immediate action that will build a more just, equitable, clean and more prosperous American economy.”
Additional signers included the Democratic-aligned think tank Center for American Progress, the Environmental Defense Fund, Service Employees International Union, National Wildlife Federation and BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of environmental and labor groups.
The letter comes as a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers and progressive groups band together to push Biden to spend more on fighting climate change as part of his “Build Back Better” initiative. One such example: “Green New Deal” backer Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan have called for spending $1 trillion per year over the next decade on an infrastructure plan that cuts pollution in half by 2030.
Biden is set to unveil details of his transportation-focused infrastructure proposal in a speech Wednesday, with social-spending programs to be detailed later in April.
“We have a chance to truly in this moment build back better -- and greener -- than ever before. We have a chance to lay out our economic vision for the next generation while repairing historic injustices done to frontline communities and communities of color,” Markey said.
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