Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed select committee for a Green New Deal includes public bank funding

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, photo courtesy Politico

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — one of two insurgent progressive candidates to succeed in their races for Congress — submitted draft text for a select committee on a Green New Deal financed by a system of national and regional public banks and the Federal Reserve. The plan calls for a sweeping mobilization to make the US carbon neutral and draw down greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and oceans.

The inclusion of public banking is an important indicator that awareness of its value has reached the federal level, in good measure due to local advocates who have been pressing the case to Ocasio-Cortez and her team. The draft language proposes “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and ... other vehicles” for funding. 

The idea of creating a special new climate panel was immediately met with strong opposition from powerful veteran lawmakers, but has since drawn support from 15 other Representatives and the attention of mainstream media. The proposed select committee for a Green New Deal would tackle much more than climate change. Noting that far-reaching change is needed, Naomi Klein writes in The Intercept:

“By giving the committee a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing and construction, as well as health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee, and the urgent imperative to battle racial and gender injustice, the Green New Deal plan would be mapping precisely that kind of far-reaching change. This is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out.”  

Pie in the sky? Not if funded through the Federal Reserve and a network of public banks, which make this plan a realistic possibility. 

Naomi Klein continues: 

“I realize that it may seem unreasonably optimistic to invest so much in a House committee, but it is not the committee itself that is my main source of hope. It is the vast infrastructure of scientific, technical, political, and movement expertise poised to spring into action should we take the first few steps down this path. It is a network of extraordinary groups and individuals who have held fast to their climate focus and commitments even when no media wanted to cover the crisis and no major political party wanted to do anything more than perform concern. ...

“Having a good idea is no guarantee of success, of course. But here’s a thought: If the push for a Select Committee for a Green New Deal is defeated, then those lawmakers who want it to happen could consider working with civil society to set up some sort of parallel constituent assembly-like body to get the plan drafted anyway, in time for it to steal the show in 2020. Because this possibility is simply too important, and time is just too short, to allow it to be shut down by the usual forces of political inertia.”

[Read the full article on The Intercept]

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