Biden 'unity' groups offer policy choices for Democrats

(Reuters) – A group of task forces assembled by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to create unity in his party agreed on a slate of policy recommendations, announced on Wednesday, including putting the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

Biden and his last major primary opponent, progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, formed the six groups to resolve friction between liberals and centrists in the party as they headed into the Nov. 3 election against Republican President Donald Trump.

The group on climate, for instance, brought together Democratic U.S. Representative and Sanders ally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Secretary of State John Kerry, who had supported Biden.

The documents propose several new policies but also sidestepped crucial hot-button issues on climate, criminal justice, the economy, education, healthcare and immigration that divided Democrats during their yearlong presidential primary, leaving less room for Republicans to paint their opposition as extreme.

The proposals, for instance, make no mention of expanding government-run Medicare to all citizens, legalizing marijuana or imposing bans on fracking long wanted by progressives but that could kill jobs in important election battleground states.

The recommendations, which will inform the Democratic Party platform, do include targets to zero out carbon emissions in the power sector by 2035 and in the agriculture sector by 2030 as well as mandate that all new buildings leave a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.

The task force also recommended measures to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change and the production of fossil fuels.

Those measures include creating an environmental justice fund for federal agencies to invest in eliminating “legacy pollution” in minority and low-income communities and would strengthen tribal input in decisions and projects affecting their lands.

Some members of the Democratic National Committee’s Environment and Climate Crisis Council, formed last year, last month published proposals for the party’s four-year platform for up to $16 trillion in spending to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels while banning hydraulic fracking and oil and gas exports – much more than Biden’s initial $1.7 trillion plan.

Source: Read Full Article