White House Scrapes Money From Across The Government To Fund Climate Jobs Training Program

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The White House will piece together funding for President Joe Biden’s green jobs training program from existing agency funds, according to NBC News.

The American Climate Corps (ACC) will train thousands of young Americans to work in green energy and “climate resilience” jobs in the future using the competencies of numerous federal agencies, according to NBC. The White House will finance the program using existing funding pools across several agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because Congress has not expressly authorized funds for it.

The ACC was a top priority for left-wing lawmakers and environmentalists during negotiations for the massive legislation that ultimately became the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Biden’s signature climate bill that he enacted in August 2022. However, an earlier proposal for the green jobs program did not make it into the package, as Republicans strongly opposed it due to concerns about the program’s potential costs, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: ‘Socialist Agenda’: Rep. Andy Barr Says Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Is Part Of An Agenda That Won’t Receive ‘Bipartisan Support At All’)

The first existing source of funding that the administration plans to dip into is the EPA’s Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants program, which received $2 billion from the IRA in November.

“We continue to think that Congress spending is still a good idea, that hasn’t changed, but we continue to use our creativity, to make sure that we really are using every tool available to us to tackle the climate crisis,” Maggie Thomas, a special climate assistant for Biden, told NBC. The ACC is expected to put thousands of young people on the pathway to careers in “environmental justice” and other such fields.

Some House Democrats demanded $132 billion in funding for the program in the IRA before its removal from the legislation. Biden’s initial plan budgeted $10 billion for the program before it ultimately did not make it into the IRA.

Nevertheless, the White House announced in September that it would be establishing the ACC via executive action, declining to attach a price tag to the program at the time. Republican lawmakers subsequently launched an oversight effort into the program in October to get their hands on any internal cost projections that may exist, and Republican Virginia Rep. Bob Good introduced a bill in November that would prohibit the use of federal funds to finance the ACC.

California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan and Washington have already established their own versions of the ACC, and the federal government intends to partner with those states to help roll out the federal ACC, according to NBC.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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