The Southwest Offers Blueprints for the Future of Wastewater Reuse

By turning wastewater into drinking water, our existing water supplies could go further.

Elizabeth Warren Unveils $700 Billion Plan to Establish Universal Child Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) reintroduced a $700 billion plan on Tuesday to make child care more affordable for families and establish a universal child care program over the next decade. The proposal would create a network of child care centers so that everyone, regardless of income, can have access to quality child care. It would also make child care free for those who make below two times the federal poverty line, and would ensure that no low- and middle-income families have to pay more than 7 percent of their income for public child care. Warren has previously unveiled a version of the plan in 2019, when she was campaigning for president.

Republicans Balk at Infrastructure Adding to Deficit After Opposing Pay Fors

Racial Justice MLK’s Family and Civil Rights Leaders Call for Voting Rights March on Washington Environment & Health Democrats Propose Medicare for a Few More Instead of Demanding Medicare for All Politics & Elections GOP Lawmaker Suing Pelosi Over House Mask Rules Contracts COVID Politics & Elections Republicans Balk at Infrastructure Adding to Deficit After Opposing Pay-Fors Economy & Labor Predatory Banks at Walmarts Made Over 100 Percent of Profits From Overdraft Fees Economy & Labor COVID Relief Packages Dramatically Reduced Poverty. They Should Be Permanent. As amendments to the bipartisan infrastructure bill were being debated in the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Thursday that only about half of the $550 billion in new spending proposed by the bill will be paid for and the rest will add to the deficit. The CBO announced that the bill would add about $256 billion to the deficit over the next ten years despite the fact that the bipartisan group working on the bill had promised the entire bill would be paid for. Republicans have warned for weeks that they may not support the bill if it wasn’t fully funded. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said in June that might not support a bill that added to the deficit. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told The Hill on Thursday that, despite the good provisions in the bill, he believes half of the “pay-fors” in the bill are “fake.” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has evidently been warning his colleagues for weeks that the bill would likely not be fully covered. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Portman circulated a statement saying that the CBO score may not be fully accurate and that the bill would still be fully funded, in an attempt to assuage concerns for now. Still, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee) is hesitant after the CBO report, falling in step with McConnell’s announcement in June that GOP lawmakers wouldn’t vote for a bill that added to the deficit. A spokesperson for Hagerty told Politico that the senator “cannot in good conscience agree to expedite a process immediately after the CBO confirmed that the bill would add over a quarter of a trillion dollars to the deficit.” Senators, mostly Republicans, introduced a flurry of amendments on Thursday evening but Hagerty’s opposition held up a vote to end debate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has rescheduled the vote for Saturday. The bill must receive at least 60 votes to advance, thanks to the Senate filibuster. Though Republican opposition to adding to the deficit — and thus potential opposition to the entire infrastructure bill — is unsurprising, it comes after months of negotiations in which the GOP has rejected a wide swath of Democratic proposals that could have prevented any deficit issues at all. President Joe Biden had originally proposed a modest tax increase on corporations and wealthy people to pay for his $4 trillion package. Republicans categorically rejected this proposal, not wanting to undo Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Instead, they offered to pay for the bill with user fees, a proposal that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) pointed out was really a tax on the middle and lower classes. Republicans also rejected a proposal to enforce existing tax law on the rich. This pay-for would fund the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to go after rich tax dodgers — many who often donate handsomely to the Republican Party. The IRS funding proposal in the bipartisan bill would have raised an estimated $100 billion over 10 years. The GOP, then, has created its own catch-22 on the infrastructure bill. They won’t agree to a bill that would add to the deficit, but they also won’t agree to any of the pay-fors that would cover additional spending. It’s unclear if Hagerty or other Republicans could be swayed to support the bill — but as Republicans have been delaying the bill for months, Democrats and progressives are growing more impatient. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

No Bipartisan Deal Without Reconciliation Bill, House Progressives Insist

Shortly after the Senate passed a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package on Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus said a survey of its nearly 100 members showed that a majority of respondents are prepared to withhold their votes for the newly approved legislation until the upper chamber also greenlights a sweeping reconciliation bill. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), three top CPC members led by caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) wrote that their fellow progressive lawmakers were “specifically asked” whether they would “commit to withholding a yes vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal… until the Senate has passed budget reconciliation legislation deemed acceptable by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

When Even the Conservative IEA Sounds an Alarm on Climate, the World Must Listen

Like a carousel of bad news coming from all four corners of the globe, the year thus far has borne witness to a litany of extreme weather events and stark research findings with one grim overarching message: The world is still failing miserably to adequately respond to the already devastating impacts of the climate crisis.

Progressives Reject Watered Down Reconciliation Bill in Rebuttal to Sinema

Environment & Health Chomsky: We Need Genuine International Cooperation to Tackle the Climate Crisis Politics & Elections Conservative Democrats Are Endangering Humanity. Exhibit A: Kyrsten Sinema. Politics & Elections The Right Wing Wants Misinformation and Manufactured Ignorance, Not Democracy Politics & Elections Trump Pushed Then-DOJ Head Rosen Daily to Probe False Fraud Claims in Late 2020 Politics & Elections Progressives Reject Watered Down Reconciliation Bill in Rebuttal to Sinema Racial Justice Bob Moses Embodied Collective Struggle for Black Freedom and Human Liberation After Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) threw a bomb into the Democrats’ plan to pass a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, progressives are fighting back, saying that they won’t accept a bill that doesn’t include and sufficiently address their priorities. “Progressives have been clear from the beginning: a small and narrow bipartisan infrastructure bill does not have a path forward in the House of Representatives unless it has a reconciliation package, with our priorities, alongside it,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) in a statement on Wednesday. Sinema said on Wednesday that she doesn’t support a $3.5 trillion bill and said she’d work in the coming months to negotiate the bill. But Democrats had wanted to pass the reconciliation bill in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure bill before the Senate went into recess in early August, so Sinema’s opposition to the $3.5 trillion proposal as it’s written throws the Democrats’ plan for a loop. The Arizona senator said that she would vote to adopt the budget resolution, which is the first step to getting the reconciliation bill passed. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who has led the reconciliation bill effort, said Wednesday that the Senate has the required 50 votes needed to adopt the resolution. There’s no guarantee, however, that the bill will pass the whole chamber from there as it is — and, with House progressives standing against watering down the bill, there’s no guarantee it will pass at all if Sinema is successful in shrinking it. The potential blocking of the reconciliation package also means that the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed a cloture vote Wednesday night, might be in jeopardy as well. “The votes of Congressional Progressive Caucus members are not guaranteed on any bipartisan package until we examine the details, and until the reconciliation bill is agreed to and passed with our priorities sufficiently funded,” Jayapal said. “The investments we identified months ago are long-standing Democratic priorities, including affordable housing, Medicare expansion, strengthening the care economy, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship.” The reconciliation bill in its current form contains proposals to address all of these things. Sanders has said that though the bill is a step down from the $6 trillion figure he had originally proposed, the $3.5 trillion bill still contains everything he wants, just for a shorter period of time. Indeed, $3.5 trillion was already a compromise for progressives, many of whom stood behind a $10 trillion infrastructure and climate bill earlier this year. Members of Congress like Representatives Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) expressed frustration and threatened to pull their support for the bills on Wednesday. “Without a reconciliation package that meets this moment, I’m a no on this bipartisan deal,” Jones said on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez issued a scathing statement responding to Sinema’s announcement, saying “Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin.” Ocasio-Cortez also pointed out that the bipartisan infrastructure agreement was formed by all white senators. “A lot of times, ‘bipartisan agreements’ are just as defined by who people in power agree to exclude than include,” she wrote. This isn’t the first time progressives have made threats to pull their support for the infrastructure and reconciliation bills. They have been emphasizing for months that they would not support a bill without provisions to address the climate crisis, for instance. They have said that, not only is now perhaps the only time President Joe Biden will get to massively cut emissions, but it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate to potential midterm voters that Democrats deserve to keep their majority in Congress. But the White House is evidently celebrating the bipartisan infrastructure bill anyway, despite the fact that it’s only about a quarter of the size of Biden’s original proposal and excludes vital provisions on climate and raising taxes on wealthy people and corporations to fund the bill. While Biden took a victory lap touting the infrastructure bill Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the items cut out of the infrastructure bill “shiny objects.” But as even just the past weeks have demonstrated, action on climate is anything but trivial, which is why Democrats and progressives have been insistent on keeping addressing climate issues in the bipartisan deal. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Chomsky: Biden’s “Radical” Proposals Are Minimum Measures to Avoid Catastrophe

Looking at the state of the world, one is struck by the stark contradiction of progress being made on some fronts even as we are facing massive disruptions, tremendous inequalities and existential threats to humanity and nature. In this context, how do we evaluate the qualities of progress and decline? How significant is political activism to progress? In this exclusive interview, Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s greatest scholars and leading activists, shares his insights on the state of the world and the conundrum of activism and change, including the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the movement for Palestinian rights, the urgency of the climate crisis and the threat of nuclear weapons.

Progressives Introduce Huge Climate Bill That Rivals Biden Infrastructure Plan

Politics & Elections Biden’s Speech Pointed to a Possible End to Reagan’s Rancid Legacy Prisons & Policing New Report Looks at Strategies to Cut Incarceration of Illinois Women by Half Politics & Elections GOP Rebuttal to Biden’s Speech Flopped Because Progressive Policies Are Popular Environment & Health Hawaii Poised to Become First State to Declare Climate Emergency Environment & Health Progressives Introduce Huge Climate Bill That Rivals Biden Infrastructure Plan Racial Justice Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity Progressives on Thursday introduced a $10 trillion climate and jobs bill that would reduce emissions, rebuild infrastructure and address environmental justice over the next decade. The bill rivals President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, which calls for a much smaller investment. While Biden’s bill calls for a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure over the next decade, the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act calls for $1 trillion per year over 10 years for investment in infrastructure, jobs and climate initiatives. The proposal is being led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) and it aims to cut climate emissions in half by 2030 and is centered around equitable change. Highlighting the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the American Rescue Plan, Dingell said in a press call organized by the Green New Deal Network, “[As the nation is] pivoting from relief to recovery, we’re working together to advance good paying union jobs, racial equity and climate action.” “The pandemic has shined a light on the cracks of our society. It’s placed a burden on vulnerable communities,” said Dingell. “That’s why we need a bold economic renewal plan, and the THRIVE Act is exactly what we need.” “The climate crisis is here. It’s here. This is not some future issue.” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado), a sponsor of the bill, highlighting wildfires in his state and public health issues due to air pollution. “The most expensive thing our nation has ever done is not be ready for this pandemic. So we have to do the right thing and make investments now to be prepared to save lives” and address the climate crisis, Crow said. One of the main focuses of the bill is job creation — a March report by the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that the THRIVE Act would create about 15.5 million jobs per year. The bill stipulates that the jobs must be high quality, with at least a $15 an hour wage and with benefits like paid family and sick leave. “Unions and the environmentalists have come together and are working together to ensure that we rebuild our country’s economy with a focus on justice and healing,” said Dingell. The bill would also ensure that historically oppressed groups are at the front line of the transition to a greener nation by creating a 20-member board of representatives from frontline communities, unions and Indigenous nations to help guide where investments should be made. Fifty percent of investments from the bill, it stipulates, must go toward frontline communities, which suffer the most from climate impacts. “Policymakers cannot ignore the realities that are facing millions of Black, brown, Indigenous, immigrant and working families all across America. The four crises facing America are literally killing us. They are climate change, the public health pandemic, racial injustice and economic inequality,” said Markey in the press call. “We can’t defeat any of these crises alone. We must develop a roadmap for recovery that addresses them all.” The bill pays particular care to Indigenous people, and requires the government to respect Indigenous nations in the investments put forth by the bill. It attempts to ensure that Native communities would be consulted and their consent sought before things like pipelines are built on Indigenous territory. The THRIVE Agenda and corresponding THRIVE Act was originally introduced by the former Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), who now serves as the first Indigenous Interior Secretary, and who has long been a champion of Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Polling from Data for Progress last year showed that the THRIVE Agenda pillars, including investing in green infrastructure and recognizing Native sovereignty, are popular — and the agenda has gained over 100 co-sponsors since Haaland introduced it. The THRIVE Act also has the support of Democrats like Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Representatives Ilhan Omar, (D-Minnesota), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) and Ro Khanna (D-California). Though it has little hope of being passed into law, elements of the bill could end up being incorporated into Biden’s infrastructure plan, just as parts of the Green New Deal have been embraced by Biden. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

The Colonial Pipeline Hack Is a New Extreme for Ransomware

An attack has crippled the company’s operations—and cut off a large portion of the East Coast’s fuel supply—in an ominous development for critical infrastructure.For years, the cybersecurity industry has warned that...

Sanders Unveils Final $3.5T Reconciliation Package Alongside Infrastructure Bill

Senate Democrats have unveiled their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill with provisions like paid leave, expanding Medicare coverage and proposals to tackle the climate crisis in the U.S. The Democrats plan on passing the bill alongside the bipartisan infrastructure package that’s currently being debated in the Senate. The reconciliation bill, spearheaded largely by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), contains many of the provisions that were carved out of the infrastructure package that President Joe Biden had originally proposed in the spring. That includes traditional infrastructure provisions, such as funding for affordable housing upgrades and transportation.