V.P. Biden Promoted Green Jobs for the Middle Class
President Obama assigned Vice President Biden on Jan. 30, to oversee The Middle Class Task Force as a major initiative to focus on raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America.
Members of the Middle Class Task Force comprised of the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Agriculture; as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.
The Middle Class Task Force would conduct outreach sessions with representatives of labor, business, and the advocacy communities.
The Vice President and members of the task force would work with a wide array of Federal agencies that have responsibility for key issues facing the middle class in addition to expediting administrative reforms, proposing Executive orders, and developing legislative and policy proposals that would be beneficial to working families.
Goals of the task force:
- Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
- Improving work and family balance
- Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
- Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
- Protecting retirement security
The Vice President and his team of six Cabinet Secretaries traveled to Philadelphia on Friday, Feb.27 for their inaugural meeting of the Middle Class Task Force (MCTF). This first meeting was designed to promote a dual message of developing green jobs that would grow a greener and cleaner economy thereby giving a boost to the middle class.
The Task Force plans to work with the policy makers, entrepeneurs, and advocates who are working together to figure out how to grow the economy and do what is right for the environment while making sure the middle class benefits.
In Philadelphia, the MCTF team was joined by Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), Senator Specter (R-PA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Mr. Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers of America (USW), Mr. Fred Krupp from the Environmental Defense Fund, Mr. Van Jones from Green for All, Mayor Nutter (D-PA), Mr. Mark Edlin, President, Gerding-Edlin, and Ms. Cecilia Estolano, CEO of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Authority, to name a few.
Some excerpts from the Vice President's opening remarks pertaining to the green jobs and the middle class:
"Folks, I'm joined here today by leading public officials. Senators Specter and Casey and Congressman Brady and Fattah, Governor Rendell, Mayor Nutter and a significant array of Cabinet officers.
They are gathered here today to hear from experts who have blueprints on how to get this right. And the stakeholders, the people who are actually getting money through the recovery act to create green jobs. And they're ready.
...more green jobs mean more money in the wallet of every American who engages in this at the end of the month. Weatherizing your home creates a job, but it also -- it also lowers your monthly bill, lowering the strain on your budget. And so for example, there are 400,000 row homes right here in Philadelphia that could be weatherized and made more efficient. Just doing that would lower household energy consumption by 20 to 40 percent, saving families hundreds of dollars a year and reducing the impact on the environment."
The Middle Class Task Force discussed the connection between green jobs, the middle class, and the Recovery Act.
During the meeting, Mayor Nutter announced that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation just gave a healthy $1.1 million grant to the Philadelphia-based Energy Coordinating Agency. The funds would be used to train under-employed workers in "green collar" jobs. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is a partner in the effort, and they're getting $100,000 to support the effort.
In his closing remarks, Vice President Biden also stressed that green jobs needed to be good jobs with fair pay and strong standards, therefore, it was important to approach these goals with openness, transparency, and with accountability.
NP readers can read the complete first staff report here, Green Jobs: A Pathway to a Strong Middle Class.
Sources: The White House
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