Following President Obama’s lead, those of us who want to see a strong, equitable green economy take shape should take a moment to celebrate…and then get back to work.
Last week, the House Democrats introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka the stimulus). There’s a lot to be happy about in this plan, which is proposing billions of dollars for energy efficiency, renewables, and infrastructure that promotes mass transit and smart growth—all with the potential to create millions of green collar jobs.
Additionally, the House recovery plan calls for $500 million for a grant program to train workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries specified in the Green Jobs Act, which is something that we at Green For All are especially excited about.
Yet, the money flowing from the recovery plan is not all it’s going to take to put millions of Americans on the career path to quality green jobs and help restore an ailing planet. The recovery package for the most part directs money into already existing programs that can spend it quickly. It’s a vitally important but short-term solution to begin to address some very serious, long-term problems. If passed, the stimulus will provide a down payment to get some good work started, but it will take large-scale policy changes, ongoing investments, and new, innovative programmatic strategies to really recharge America.
President Obama hopes to sign a recovery bill (a reconciled combination of the House and Senate proposals) by mid-February. As we support efforts to win meaningful contributions to green infrastructure projects, jobs, and training in that package, we should not lose sight of the work ahead to make concrete, long-lasting policy changes that will lead to a strong green economy that works for all.
Take Action: Tell Congress to Green the Stimulus! The House of Representatives has released its proposal for the recovery. The Senate is still drafting its own version, and the final package will be a reconciled version of the two. Please keep the pressure on by letting your legislators know you want to see a green and equitable stimulus.
Pauli Ojea is a Policy Associate at Green For All, where she works to help shape and advocate for the policy changes necessary to help build an inclusive green economy that works for all.