Green New Deal Vs Off Fossil Fuels Act: From Political Games to Effective Policy.

Tulsi has not co-sponsored the “Green New Deal”. Despite pressure from the progressive wing to do it, and accusing Tulsi of being irresponsible.

There are many reasons as to why I believe she has the intelligence and integrity needed to fulfill the demands of the highest office. Her reluctance to endorse the Green New deal resolution is the latest example of Tulsi choosing country before party.

I am referring specifically to: H.Res.109 “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal”.

I will be comparing such RESOLUTION (this will be important so please keep it in mind), to H.R. 3671 “Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act” crafted by Rep. Gabbard.

It seems that many people believe Tulsi is not aware of the critical importance in saving our environment. This could not be farther from the truth, and I argue, it is the exact opposite.

First, it is important understand the difference between a bill, and a resolution.

Bills are what we most commonly think of when we think of Congress drafting and voting on things. A Bill starts either in the House of Representatives or in the Senate. Bills that start in the House are designated “H.R.” plus a number. (Note that that stands for House of Representatives, not House Resolution as is often though.) These are bills proposed by congressmen/women and considered first by the House and later by the Senate. Bills can also start in the Senate, when they are proposed by Senators — they get considered by the Senate first and the House after. Those are designated “S.” plus a number. The numbering is done independently, so there is both a H.R. 1 and an S. 1.

In contrast, and in general, resolutions are not used to enact law. There are three types of resolutions: simple resolutions, joint resolutions, and concurrent resolutions. Simple resolutions are usually used for each chamber to set their own rules, like how much time is used for debate, things like that, or to express the sentiment of a chamber, like congratulating a football team or denouncing violence. They are voted on only in their originating chamber only and don’t have the force of law.

Joint resolutions are more interesting, as they can be used to enact law in exactly the same manner as a bill. However, this is rare. Even more rare is their second use. Joint resolutions are how Congress begins the process of a constitutional amendment. These types of joint resolutions must be passed by both chambers and then ratified by 3/4ths of the states, but, as the Constitution says, they need not be approved by the President, in order to amend the Constitution.

H.Res.109 is so general in scope, so ambitious, that the likelihood to be passed by both chambers and ratified by 3/4ths of the states is practically zero.

H.Res 109 considers job creation, reduction of greenhouse gas, healthcare, unions, reparations to historic oppression, free college, infrastructure:

  1. It is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal 
    (A) Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. 
    (B) Create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States 
    (C) Invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States. 
    (D) Secure for all people of the United States for generations to come
     (i) clean air and water
     (ii) climate and community resiliency
     (iii) healthy food 
     (iv) access to nature
     (v) a sustainable environment
    (E) Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth
  2. This shall be achieved by
    (A) Building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies
    (B) Repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including
     (i) Eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible
     (ii) Guaranteeing universal access to clean water
     (iii) reducing the risks posed by climate impacts
     (iv) Ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change
    (C) Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including 
     (i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources
     (ii) Deploying new capacity
    (D) Building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘‘smart’’ power grids, and ensuring affordable access to electricity
    (E) Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification
    (F) Spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry
    (G) Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including
     (i) Supporting family farming
     (ii) Investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health
     (iii) Building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food
    (H) Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in 
     (i) Zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing
     (ii) Clean, affordable, and accessible public transit
     (iii) High-speed rail
    (I) Mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies
    (J) Removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation and afforestation
    (K) Restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency
    (L) Cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites, ensuring economic development and sustainability on those sites
    (M) Identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to remove them
    (N) Promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal
  3. A Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses
  4. To achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects 
    (A) providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization
    (B) ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental and social costs and impacts of emissions through 
     (i) Existing laws
     (ii) New policies and programs
     (iii) Ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected
    (C) Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization
    (D) Making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries
    (E) Directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry and business in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities, that may otherwise struggle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries
    (F) Ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level
    (G) Ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition 
    (H) Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States
    (I) Strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment
    (J) strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors; enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections 
     (i) Stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas
     (ii) Grow domestic manufacturing in the United States
    (L) Ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous peoples
    (N) Ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies
    (O) providing all people of the United 13 States with
     (i) High-quality health care
     (ii) Affordable, safe, and adequate housing
     (iii) Economic security
     (iv) Clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.

With the exception of the following paragraph:

“ …global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require — (A) global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and (B) net-zero global emissions by 2050

The Green New Deal Resolution does not provide any timelines, it is not actionable, it’s intent is to make a political statement, not to actually fix a problem. This is why many candidates for the presidency have endorsed it, because it does not bind the government to take action, only to recognize that that there is a problem. Even if the resolution was passed, it would provide ZERO mechanisms to implement and enforce the proclamation. Political parties can fight over it for years. Is this how we want our government to operate?

Let us compare with the Off Fossil Fuels act, crafted by Rep Tulsi Gabbard. H.R. 3671 considers, effects, costs, and financing, and sets well defined goals. Some of the highlights are included below, for the full text refer to the link.

SEC. 201. CLEAN ENERGY MANDATES.

(a) Minimum Annual Percentage. — The minimum annual percentage of the quantity of electricity sold by a retail electric supplier that must be generated from clean energy resources shall be —

(1) in 2027, 80 percent; and

(2) in 2035, and every year following, 100 percent.

SEC. 202. ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLE MANDATE.

(a) In General. — The minimum annual percentage of the quantity of new motor vehicle sales of a vehicle manufacturer that shall be zero-emission vehicles shall be —

(1) in 2027, 80 percent; and

(2) in 2035, and every year following, 100 percent.

(c) Car Allowance Rebate Program. — The Secretary of Transportation is instructed to establish the ‘Car Allowance Rebate’ system to provide economic incentives for United States consumers to purchase new, clean energy vehicles.

SEC. 203. ELECTRIFIED TRAINS.

(a) Electrified Train Mandate. —

(1) ELECTRIFIED RAIL LINES. — The minimum percentage of electrified rail lines in the United States shall be —

(A) in 2027, 80 percent; and

(B) in 2035, and every year following, 100 percent.

(2) ELECTRIFIED TRAIN ENGINES. — The minimum percentage of electrified train engines in the United States shall be —

(A) in 2027, 80 percent; and

(B) in 2035, and every year following, 100 percent.

(b) Prohibition. — Beginning in 2035 and every year after no train engines running on fossil fuels may operate within the United States.

SEC. 301. MORATORIUM ON NEW MAJOR FOSSIL FUEL PROJECTS.

(b) Moratorium. — Subject to subsection (e), beginning on January 1, 2018, there shall be a moratorium on Federal permit approval for —

(1) any new electric generating facility that generates fossil fuel energy through the combustion of any fossil fuel resource;

(2) any new gathering line or interstate pipeline for the transport of any fossil fuel resource that —

(A) crosses Federal land or navigable water; or

(B) requires the use of eminent domain on private property;

SEC. 302. ENDING FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES.

(a) Repeal Of Expensing And 60-Month Amortization Of Intangible Drilling Costs.

(b) Repeal Of Percentage Depletion For Oil And Gas Wells. —

(1) IN GENERAL. —Section 613 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(f) Termination Of Percentage Depletion For Oil And Gas Properties. — In the case of oil and gas properties, this section shall not apply to any taxable year beginning after December 31, of the fiscal year in which this legislation is enacted.”.

(2) LIMITATIONS ON PERCENTAGE DEPLETION IN CASE OF OIL AND GAS WELLS. — Section 613A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(f) Termination. — This section shall not apply to any taxable year beginning after December 31, of the fiscal year in which this legislation is enacted.”.

(C) Denial Of Deduction For Income Attributable To Domestic Production Of Oil, Natural Gas, Or Primary Products Thereof. —

(2) PRIMARY PRODUCT. — Section 199(c)(4)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following flush sentence:

“For purposes of clause (iv), the term ‘primary product’ has the same meaning as when used in section 927(a)(2)(C) as in effect before its repeal.”.

(3) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS. —

(A) Section 199(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended —

(i) in subparagraph (A)(i)(III), by striking “electricity, natural gas,” and inserting “electricity”; and

(ii) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking “electricity, natural gas,” and inserting “electricity”.

(B) Section 199(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking paragraph (9) and by redesignating paragraph (10) as paragraph (9).

(4) EFFECTIVE DATE. — The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, of the fiscal year in which this legislation is enacted.

SEC. 601. THE CENTER FOR CLEAN ENERGY WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.

(a) Establishment Of Center For Workforce Development. —

(4) States may apply for Federal resources to extend unemployment benefits for fossil fuel workers displaced in the transition to renewable energy.

(b) Eligibility. —

(1) Workers are eligible when transitioning between jobs or are underemployed, they maintain eligibility until they have a salary, pension, and health care benefits package within 10 percent of the previous benefits package.

(2) For the first 5 years, coal workers are eligible. Then, if 20 percent or more jobs are lost in other energy sectors, eligibility opens for those workers as well.

(C) Benefits. —

(1) For up to three years, workers may receive unemployment insurance, health care, and pension based on their previous salary.

(2) Workers may also receive job training, healthcare, and living expenses for up to four years.

(3) If a worker is ready to retire, they may opt for pension support and health care.

(4) Employers shall receive tax credits to incentivize hiring transitioning employees.

SEC. 701. CREATION OF “OFF FOSSIL FUELS FUND”.

(a) In General. — In the Department of the Treasury, there shall be created the “OFF Fossil Fuels Fund”.

(b) Funding To Execute The Provisions Of This Act. —

(1) REPEAL OF OFFSHORE TAX DEFERMENT. — Section 952 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended.

Rep Gabbard’s legislation, provides clear objectives, clear funding, clear policies, exemptions, and clear mandates to transition the United States to a more energy efficient and competitive economy.

It does not make rhetorical proclamations of how new jobs will be created, or tries to regulate every aspect of American life. The transformation itself will allow those side benefits to be enjoyed by all Americans, and only considerations about transitioning the existing workforce to align with the goals of this bill are considered in Title VI.

This is why Tulsi Gabbard has my support. Her thought process, and her approach to solve the challenges in our world, are based on realistic, ambitious, and feasible goals. We do not have much time to make the transition. We don’t have time for political play.

Be informed!, don’t just repeat the soundbites aimed to distract us. It is time to stop political games and get to work. Together, as one Nation. As the UNITED States of America.