Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | liberalism

Progressives Use Virus for Agenda Opportunity

biden at a campaign rally
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (Getty Images)

By Friday, 08 May 2020 01:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Don't just take my word for it. As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during a March 25 appearance on the PBS NewsHour, "We're gonna have an opportunity, I believe in the next round [of congressional economic aid] here, to use the — my green economy — my Green Deal to be able to generate both economic ground and consistent with the kind of infusion of money as we need into the system to keep it going."

Biden's campaign platform refers to that Green New Deal, a bill brought forward by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., as "a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face," because it "powerfully captures" the basic truth that "our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the former V.P.'s views on this viral opportunity appear to closely align with those of Rep. James Clyburn, the godfather of South Carolina Democratic politics and highest-ranking African American Democrat in the Congress who threw his crucial influence behind Biden's then-lagging presidential campaign.

In March, Democrat House Majority Whip Clyburn had referred to the coronavirus pandemic relief negotiations as "a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision." "We gotta have telehealth going forward for these kinds of issues, and to do it, we've got to restructure the way we deliver healthcare in this country," Clyburn said.

He added, "That's what we were doing with Medicare and Medicaid, that's what we were doing with the Affordable Care Act — trying to restructure the way health care is delivered in this country."

Rep. Clyburn will be in a strong position to advance Democrat-controlled House coronavirus-leveraged "vision" agendas. On April 2, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tapped him to lead her select oversight committee on coronavirus relief, which will monitor the billions in federal dollars spent fighting the pandemic.

Speaker Pelosi has previously been under fire by Senate Republicans for delaying signing of a time-critical $2 trillion stimulus bill in favor of her own legislation, which among other items, would have raised fuel emission standards for airlines and increased union bargaining power.

Later relenting to politically unfavorable pressure, Pelosi said during a CNBC appearance, "While I'm very much in favor of doing some things we need to do to meet the needs — clean water, more broadband, the rest of that — that may have to be for a bill beyond that right now."

Key among Democrat climate proposals to attach carbon emission reduction requirements to airline industry aid are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Not specified in their plan is how airlines should go about curbing their emissions — whether through investments in alternative fuels, fuel efficiency or carbon offsets.

Capitol Hill Democrats had pushed to add climate change provisions to the third aid package passed on March 27 for people and industries affected by the pandemic. Several House Dems had been urging clean-tech tax credits as incentives for electric vehicles, battery storage, and offshore wind and solar energy that were left out of a proposed December tax-extenders package.

Recognizing that they can't press through all of the climate legislation they might wish for on the back of emergency coronavirus relief financing, Democrats are nevertheless pressing forward to include "clean energy" tax credits into future legislative authorizations.

House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition co-chair Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Paul Tonko of New York, and Doris Matsui of California told E&E News: "We absolutely hope to see clean energy tax credits included in a larger stimulus package. Including these credits will help us address both the economic slow-down we are facing as a result of COVID-19 and the ongoing climate crisis."

"Our members pushed for these credits in the [2019] end-of-year funding package and will continue to fight for them in this round of economic stimulus," they added.

Meanwhile, some Democrats clearly see the COVID-19 crisis as a true opportunity not to be wasted.

On April 20, Green New Deal architect AOC gleeful celebrated the dire situation that resulted from a one-two punch of lost petroleum demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with a game of chicken where Russia and Saudi Arabia were flooding the globe with below-profit supplies.

She tweeted to her 6.7 million followers, "You absolutely love to see it. This along with record low-interest rates means it's the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet."

As if we didn't imagine that the COVID-19 disaster isn't terrifyingly disruptive enough, we've also got to survive opportunistic politicians.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of several books, including "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure, and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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Some Democrats clearly see the COVID-19 crisis as a true opportunity not to be wasted.
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2020-34-08
Friday, 08 May 2020 01:34 PM
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