Comprehensive “THRIVE Agenda” responds to ongoing crises of COVID-19, climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequity
Washington (September 10, 2020) – U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) were today joined by dozens of colleagues and a coalition of grassroots groups; labor unions; Black, Brown and Indigenous leaders from across the country to introduce a bold plan for economic renewal known as the Agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy, or THRIVE Agenda. In the Senate the resolution is led by Senator Markey, Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). In the House of Representatives, the resolution is led by Rep. Haaland, Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Donald McEachin (VA-04), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Ro Khanna (CA-17).
Eighty members of Congress across both chambers have already endorsed the THRIVE resolution as original co-sponsors. THRIVE lays out the unifying principles necessary to build a society that enables dignified work; increased racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice; healthy communities; and a stable climate. The THRIVE agenda is built on eight pillars, which span from creating millions of good, safe jobs with access to unions to averting climate catastrophe while investing in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
“The solutions to help rebuild from the current health and economic crisis will help combat another – the climate crisis. The THRIVE Agenda is the kind of economy-wide job and justice creation mobilization we will need,” said Senator Markey. “We can and must do more than simply rebuild our economy, we must transform it -- into an economy and a democracy that works for all Americans and saves the planet. We can thrive as we recover, and I thank Rep. Haaland and my Senate colleagues for their partnership on this important agenda.”
“The promise of the American dream should be available and accessible to everyone, but right now, our country is facing crises that are fatefully intertwined: tens of millions of people are unemployed, the COVID-19 pandemic rages, racial and economic injustice are rampant , and the climate crisis is accelerating,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. “I grew up in a culture that welcomes everyone, a culture in which we support each other in times of need so everyone thrives. We have an opportunity to not just recover from these interlocking crises, but to thrive by creating millions of good paying, union, clean, green jobs while building a more just, healthy, and stable economy that leaves no one behind.”
“COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated many of the inequalities in our country, from racial injustices to economic inequity and exposure to pollution,” said Senator Booker. “We still have so much work to do to stop the spread of this virus, but as we prepare for the long recovery ahead we must ensure we are laying the foundation to address climate change and build a more just country for everyone.”
“Climate change exacerbates the racial and economic inequalities the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare, and with millions out of work and at risk of losing their homes, their health care, and their loved ones, the time for bold, forward-thinking action is now,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “While President Trump and Congressional Republicans continue to ignore climate change, I am proud to work with my Democratic colleagues and many advocates and progressive groups on the THRIVE agenda. Even in the face of a global pandemic, we can and must develop solutions to the climate crisis that create good jobs, invest in communities, and ensure healthy lives for everyone regardless of your zip code.”
“Our economy works for the wealthy and well-connected instead of struggling families, especially families of color,” said Senator Warren. “These unprecedented public health and economic crises have only made these longstanding injustices worse and we need big, bold structural solutions. I am thrilled to be introducing the THRIVE Agenda with my colleagues and dozens of grassroots groups to revive our economy and tackle the ongoing crises of COVID-19, climate change, racial injustice, public health, and economic inequity.”
“We are currently facing the worst health and economic crisis in modern history,” said Senator Sanders. “Climate change is a global emergency already devastating our communities and threatens the future of our planet. Half-measures are not going to get us out of this. Now is the time to act boldly— to work from the ground up to transform our society and economy to work for all of us. What this resolution says is that we must and we will create an America based on the principles of justice. Economic justice. Racial justice. Social justice. Environmental justice.”
“While progress has been made over the years, significant work remains to achieve true equality and justice for all,” said Senator Wyden. “Congress must take deliberative and decisive action to tear down systemic barriers and invest in those communities that are often oppressed or forgotten.”
“Oregonians and Americans in every corner of our country are hurting in so many ways. They’re crying out for racial justice, while also fighting to pay their bills and stay safe from raging wildfires and the coronavirus,” said Senator Merkley. “If there's one thing we've learned from the administration's handling of the pandemic, it's that big problems don’t go away if you ignore them. Our communities need a blueprint for a better future that tackles climate chaos and systemic racism and builds back a stronger, more inclusive, sustainable economy. We can turn the page, rise to the moment, and solve big problems, and the THRIVE agenda shows the way.”
“The disregard for communities of color in environmental decisions has had lasting and devastating consequences on their economic opportunities and public health. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the THRIVE resolution, which lays out a strong agenda that will help our economy recover with good-paying jobs and a healthy environment, clean air, and clean water for everyone,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As we work to rebuild our economy, we must prioritize the economic well-being, health and safety of all Americans, no matter their zip code, by investing in long-term, sustainable solutions rooted in environmental, racial and economic justice.”
“The staggering effects of climate change have been laid bare this week with the horrific fires and record-breaking temperatures,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This environmental crisis, alongside the ongoing public health and racial injustice crises, demands immediate action and leadership – absent from this administration. I am proud to support the THRIVE resolution to put our country on a path toward a more just, healthy, and equitable society every American deserves. Its guiding principles will help revive our country’s economy while tackling climate change, racial injustice, public health, and economic inequity.”
“Marginalized communities—communities of color, low-income communities and Native communities—often bear the worst consequences of environmental pollution that profits the rich and powerful,” said Senator Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “Native American Tribes are still waiting for restoration owed to them from many decades of environmental exploitation, while air, water and toxics pollution caused by big corporations disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities every day. Moving forward, we must chart a new path forward to achieve broader prosperity and environmental justice and prevent the worst effects of climate change by including and empowering those who are most affected. The THRIVE Agenda is designed to create a more just and sustainable future, and we must use this framework to work for an equitably-shared recovery from the intersecting crises we are facing.”
“The THRIVE Agenda provides a visionary framework for economic recovery and climate action, while simultaneously taking on the generational, systemic challenges of racial injustice and economic inequality,” said Senator Heinrich. “That’s why I am proud to support this vision for putting millions back to work building a more fair, resilient, and clean economy for all Americans.”
“Like no other time in our nation’s history, we are facing multiple intersecting and compounding crises that threaten public health, our economic future, and the health of the planet for future generations. The THRIVE Agenda puts forth a bold, transformative vision for our society, economic renewal, racial injustice, public health, and mitigating climate change. I am proud to co-lead this resolution with my House and Senate colleagues, as well as all the groups backing this effort and their tireless fight to address the long standing economic and racial inequities that have plagued us for too long.” - Congresswoman Debbie Dingell
“The current COVID-19 crisis once again illustrates the legacy that racism and white supremacy has had in our country, and the desperate need to address the inequality that continues today. We cannot change 400 year old systems of oppression without a fight. This resolution is an important step in addressing the issues of economic inequality, climate change, and empowering workers.”- Congresswoman Barbara Lee
“To get our country back on track, we need to think big. Now is the time for New Deal-like programs, and the THRIVE Agenda outlines exactly what we need to support the American workforce while advancing an environmentally stable platform. It bolsters unions to ensure these jobs have high wages and strong benefits. It ensures we address the injustices from racist policies that have set back vulnerable communities for generations. And it progresses us towards a sustainable future by mitigating climate change. I’m excited to co-lead this effort and work with the large coalition of supporters to bring the THRIVE Agenda to fruition.” - Congressman Brendan Boyle
“The multiple crises we are facing are deeply intertwined. We need a bold, holistic solution to revive and rebuild our economy in an equitable way that prioritizes people and our environment over corporate interests. I am proud to co-lead this resolution with not only my Democratic colleagues but also with the many advocates and progressive groups working together to create a movement. A return to normal after this pandemic is not enough. The THRIVE Agenda is the renewal plan we need to achieve racial, environmental, and economic justice.” - Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
“It’s long past time for Congress to take bold action to protect our families, jobs, and planet. At a time when the global pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods across the US and exacerbated the inequalities that are impacting our communities, it is more important than ever to tackle this crisis in a comprehensive and equitable form. The THRIVE Agenda puts people first. It creates millions of union jobs, invests directly in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, addresses our climate catastrophe, and reinvests in public institutions. It’s time to invest in solutions that meet the scale of the challenges we face.” - Congresswoman Ilhan Omar
“As communities across the nation navigate intersecting crises threatening public health, equal justice under the law and the future of our planet, this much is clear — America cannot go back to normal because normal was never good enough. These compounding crises demand that our response fulfill the promise of America as a ‘garment of shared destiny.’ In that spirit, I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the THRIVE agenda, a historic call-to-action for Congress to turn this moment of national pain into the power needed to foster much-needed economic renewal while upholding principles of equal dignity, healing institutionalized harms affecting our communities and making bold investments in a vibrant, green future.” - Congressman Donald McEachin
“As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot forget there is another massive crisis looming—climate change. Solving the environmental issues before us requires a whole-of-government response, involving comprehensive policy changes to a myriad of issues before us. I’m proud to join with Congresswoman Haaland on the THRIVE agenda, which will bring together a broad coalition of policymakers to mitigate the impacts of climate change and make sure that our future economic recovery efforts prioritize the needs of the environment,” - Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
A new poll finds that the eight pillars of the THRIVE Agenda are broadly popular across the country. Additionally, a new economic analysis from the University of Massachusetts Amherst finds that a bold economic renewal plan, as outlined in the THRIVE Agenda, would create nearly 16 million new jobs. Under this agenda, these 16 million new jobs would offer safe workplaces, family-sustaining wages and benefits, and access to unions. These workers would be part of a national agenda to deploy clean and affordable public transit, replace lead pipes for clean water, expand wind and solar power, care for our children and the elderly, retrofit buildings to cut costs and pollution, expand manufacturing of clean technologies, restore our wetlands and forests, and grow food sustainably on family farms.
The THRIVE Agenda is supported by more than 200 national and local organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, Church World Service, Climate Justice Alliance, Color of Change, Communications Workers of America, Green New Deal Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, League of Conservation Voters, Movement for Black Lives, People’s Action, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, United We Dream.
“To meet this moment, we cannot accept short-term solutions that pretend our problems are siloed and don't seek to transform the systems that harm Black people,” said Karissa Lewis, National Field director, Movement for Black Lives. “We can’t stop police from murdering Black people, without divesting from policing and investing in Black and Brown communities through secure jobs with living wages and benefits. We can’t address a pandemic that is ravaging Black and Brown people without ensuring access to quality health care and the basic right of not living with or drinking toxic pollutants. Everything is connected, and we do ourselves a grave disservice by maintaining normality when momentum is on our side and the people are demanding more.”
“Indigenous peoples know that everything in life is connected and related,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “This is also the case with the issues humanity are facing today. The THRIVE Agenda addresses the climate crisis, racial injustice, mass unemployment, economic injustice and the global pandemic while recognizing the importance of recognition of our Indigenous and tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. Indigenous knowledge provides a path forward, acknowledging any form of economic recovery must respect the sacred relationship to Mother Earth, to assure nature and ecosystems are not viewed as capital in a carbon and conservation offset market system and THRIVE recognizes that.”
“We’re thrilled to see so many forces uniting behind this agenda, which delivers a clear mandate for the next administration and Congress to get started on a Green New Deal to tackle climate change and lift us out of economic recession,” said Varshini Prakash, Co-founder and Executive Director, Sunrise Movement. “Between now and November we're getting to work mobilizing our generation to defeat Trump and elect a new generation of leaders to Congress who will fight to make this vision a reality.”
“Communities across the country cannot afford incremental and piecemeal solutions to the dire intersectional issues we face, including the climate crisis, racial injustice, mass unemployment, and the deadly pandemic, to name a few,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club. “Our government must rise to the moment and enact the bold, large-scale solutions outlined in the THRIVE Agenda, which lays out a forward-thinking vision that creates millions of secure jobs, supports cleaner air and a more stable climate, takes aim at racial injustice, and invests in the health of frontline communities. The Sierra Club calls on members of Congress to take immediate action and invest in a healthy, just, equitable economic recovery for all.”
“Black, brown, white, and Asian Pacific Islander working-class families are more likely to live in zip codes with hotter temperatures, dirtier air, or more polluted water,” said Rocio Sáenz, International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union. “That’s not an accident. It’s the outcome of policies that force working people to suffer the worst consequences of a changing climate. As frontline service and care workers, SEIU members will fight for the THRIVE Agenda because we want policies that create a secure, livable future for our kids and grandkids.”
“As our nation confronts a global health pandemic, a recession, and as fires rage in California and a White House bent on division and fear rather than confronting the long needed reckoning with racial, environmental and economic justice, the THRIVE agenda helps lay out a plan to meet this moment,” said Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers. “It includes investing in equitable public education opportunities, including career and technical education pathways that prepare students for high-quality jobs of the future, and providing for the critical social, emotional academic and digital supports kids need to learn and thrive. After decades of neglecting our schools and other critical public institutions, it’s clear we must put investment at the center of the agenda, and demand the federal government take action to fund our future. THRIVE contains important building blocks in our journey toward a more just and equitable future for all.”