Markey 'optimistic' $100B clean energy bank, youth climate corps to stick in Dem spending plan

Proposals are centerpieces of Biden Green New Deal climate agenda, which House GOP Whip Steve Scalise calls "Solyndra on steroids."

Updated: October 26, 2021 - 11:12am

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Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey is "optimistic" that his legislation to create a national climate bank will make it into the Democrats' final filibuster-proof multitrillion budget reconciliation bill.

The legislation, originally rolled out in February, establishes a national climate change bank to "leverage $100 billion in public funds to create as much as $884 billion in total investment over ten years into projects that support clean energy, reduce emissions."

The climate bank was part of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation framework, but the final version of the bill is being negotiated.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have called for the party to roll back the original price tag of the bill, which would involve changing or removing some of the agenda items in the original framework. 

"We need a climate bank that will leverage in every city and town all across the country the kinds of small projects that leaders want to have the financing to implement," Markey said during a recent news conference with green activists. "And we need environmental justice."

Republicans have been critical of President Biden's climate initiatives in the reconciliation proposal, arguing that they reflect much of what's inside of the multitrillion Green New Deal. 

House GOP Whip Steve Scalise has questioned the effectiveness and cost of Biden's green energy agenda, pointing to his record as vice president with Solyndra, the solar energy company that went bankrupt after receiving federal investment. Scalise has referred to Biden's climate agenda as "Solyndra on steroids."

Markey and other Democrats, including New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been advocating for the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps to be included in the reconciliation bill.

Markey's office told Just the News that "the senator is optimistic" that the national climate bank and Civilian Climate Corps will be included in the final negotiated reconciliation bill that Democrats will try to pass through with a simple majority in the Senate.

Democrats are currently negotiating which new federal programs, climate initiatives and tax increases will be included in the final bill.