Progressive lawmakers, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.),  rolled out an expanded form of the Green New Deal on Tuesday that includes funding to hire 1.5 million uniformed climate activists to serve in the “Civilian Climate Corps.” The hall monitors of the Green New Deal. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a Civilian Climate Corps is an attempted revival of the Civilian Conservation Corps that existed briefly during the 1930s where members often lived in military barracks and wore military-style uniforms

The creation of a Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) was also included in Joe Biden’s proposed $2.25 trillion “infrastructure” spending plan which included $10 billion in taxpayer dollars to create the CCC  with the vague mission of “advancing environmental justice.” Today’s inclusion of the CCC in the rollout of the Green New Deal provides further insight into Democrats’ vision of the program. 

Details of the CCC program are listed below according to an overview document accompanying the plan’s rollout.

Spending far exceeds Biden’s $10 billion estimate.

While offering zero details on the cost of the CCC, Ocasio-Cortez claims that the taxpayer-funded program will employ “1.5 million Americans over 5 years.” That’s 1.5 million professional environmental activists in uniform lecturing Americans about their contribution to climate change and how they need to change their lives, all while living on the taxpayer’s dime.

According to generous estimates from environmental economists openly supporting the creation of the CCC, Biden’s $10 billion plan would only be sufficient to hire 200,000 “climate workers” spread over 8 years. Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that her version of the CCC would create 7.5 times this number over a shorter time frame would necessitate far greater spending than Biden’s proposed $10 billion for the CCC. 

Taxpayers pay up to $50,000 to cover tuition and student loans of CCC members

Under the Green New Deal, high school graduates working blue-collar jobs could be forced to pay off the student-loan debt of law school dropouts who couldn’t land a real job and instead joined the Climate Corps. 

Here it is straight from the text of the proposal:

“Educational Funding: Enabling educational grants of $25,000 per year of service, up to $50,000, eligible for further education at any level or to pay down student debt.”

Taxpayer-funded housing, childcare, and transportation to “work” for Climate Corps members earning a minimum of $15 per hour. 

“Compensation of at least $15 per hour, full health care coverage, and critical support services such as transportation, housing, and childcare.”

Contains “explicit antiracist language” with hiring quotas for “environmental justice communities.” 

According to the text, “explicit antiracist language” will ensure that “at least 50% of CCC and Partner Corps projects, and 50% of corps members” will be hired  from “environmental justice communities.” 

Handouts to labor unions

The plan provides a special “advisory board” composed of labor union representatives and mandates “required coordination with local labor unions.” The plan would also “prioritize registered pre-apprenticeship curricula and union membership as part of service.”