Democrats are including at least $3.5 billion in taxpayer money for the creation of a uniformed “Civilian Climate Corps” according to the House Natural Resources Committee’s portion of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package.
The Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) is designed as a make-work program for unemployed youths to be placed on the government payroll, paid to lecture taxpayers on the importance of climate activism and complete vital environmental projects like digging ditches and boosting enrollees’ outdoor recreation.
The Democrat proposal is an attempted revival of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps that, according to a 2020 report from the Congressional Research Service, existed as a government employment program for unemployed males aged 18-25 in which “enrollees were recruited, hired, and trained by the federal government, worked under federal supervision, lived in government-run military camps, and received stipends paid for with federal funding.”
How taxpayer dollars are spent
According to bill text, Democrats will divvy up the funding across four separate agencies for the purpose of “carrying out education and job training projects and conservation projects.” Beyond funding levels, the legislation only stipulates that no more than 2 percent of appropriations shall be used for administrative costs.
- The National Park Service will receive $1.7 billion in funding.
- The Bureau of Land Management will receive $900 million in funding.
- The Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $400 million in funding.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs will receive $500 million in funding.
Biden says the goal of the program is to boost young adults’ outdoor recreation
The creation of a new CCC was included as part of President Biden’s initial infrastructure agenda, which Biden recently described as a government program designed to help “young adults find work installing solar panels, planting trees, digging irrigation ditches and boosting outdoor recreation.”
Likely Structure of Civilian Climate Corps
While details are still forthcoming, the plan is modeled off of the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act introduced by House Democrats last Congress.The legislation provides further insight into Senate Democrats’ proposal, the details of which are below:
Jobs are prioritized for individuals who have already used up unemployment benefits
According to the text of the legislation, the President shall prioritize “unemployed citizens who have exhausted their entitlement to unemployment compensation,” over other citizens still “eligible for unemployment compensation payable under any State law or Federal unemployment compensation law.”
80 percent of funding used on employment, not conservation.
While the Biden administration claims the proposal is about conservation and addressing climate change, the model legislation mandates that 80 percent of funding is to be used just on the salaries of staff.
“Not less than 80 percent of the funds utilized pursuant to paragraph (1) must be used to provide for the employment of individuals under this Act.”
Taxpayer-funded housing, clothing, and feeding of Climate Corps members.
According to the legislation, taxpayers would be responsible for paying the cost of Climate Corps members’ housing, clothing, feeding, allowance, and medical expenses. Nothing screams good-paying jobs like an “allowance” from the government. Here it is straight from the bill’s text:
“The President may provide housing for persons employed in the Civilian Conservation Corps and furnish them with such subsistence, clothing, medical attendance and hospitalization, and cash allowance, as may be necessary, during the period they are so employed.”
Taxpayer-funded transportation to “work” for Climate Corps members.
Not only will the government provide food, clothing, housing, and an allowance, it will also pick up members of the Climate Corps and drive them to work for them.
“The President may provide for the transportation of persons employed in the Civilian Conservation Corps to and from the places of employment.”
Allows President Biden to seize private property through land condemnation.
President Biden would be empowered to seize public land deemed necessary to construct projects authorized under the bill.
“The President, or the head of any department or agency authorized by the President to construct any project or to carry on any public works under this Act, may acquire real property for such project or public work by purchase, donation, condemnation, or otherwise.”
Based on a failed 1930’s program that housed “employees” in military camps.
The effort is reportedly an attempt by the Biden administration to revive a long-defunct jobs program created in 1933 as part of the New Deal and similarly titled the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In 1937, shortly after the CCC’s creation, Congress elected to phase out funding for the program, officially ending the CCC in 1942. The CCC appears to be the very first New Deal program defunded by Congress.
CCC was extremely accident-prone.
It turns out taking untrained youths and asking them to perform manual labor in the wilderness is a dangerous idea. “Given the nature of the work (“most of which consisted of manual labor”) and the inexperience of most enrollees, accidents were inevitable,” according to a National Archives report cataloging the accident reports of the CCC program.
According to the report, over 7,600 workplace accidents were filed during the CCC’s short existence and included several workplace deaths and life-threatening injuries. The report details cases of drownings and construction accidents.