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here's the plan
August 22, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has announced an aggressive climate change plan that he tells The New York Times puts "meat on the bones" of the Green New Deal.

Sanders on Thursday unveiled his $16.3 trillion plan, which calls for the U.S. to reach 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation "no later than" 2030, as well as for "complete decarbonization" by 2050. He refers to the plan itself, which would also declare climate change a national emergency, as a Green New Deal.

The senator's plan, the Times notes, is more expensive than that of any other candidate in the race; for comparison, former Vice President Joe Biden has released a climate change plan that calls for spending $1.7 trillion over 10 years. Sanders says his proposal would "pay for itself" in 15 years and create 20 million jobs. He would, among other things, impose new taxes on the fossil fuel industry and eliminate subsidies, which he says would account for $3.1 trillion and be a way of making the industry "pay for their pollution." The plan does not include a carbon tax.

Axios notes that Sanders' plan, though more specific than the Green New Deal, is "more of a vision statement than a pathway for policy that stands much chance of implementation as proposed," with "huge sections" requiring cooperation from Capitol Hill.

"I have seven grandchildren, and I'm going to be damned if I’m going to leave them a planet that is unhealthy and uninhabitable," Sanders told the Times, also saying that "we must be extraordinarily aggressive."

Sanders announced his climate change plan just after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), whose campaign was the only one focused entirely on the issue of climate change, left the 2020 race. The Democratic candidates are set to participate in a climate change-centric debate next month. Read more about Sanders' plan at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

July 29, 2019

Ahead of the second round of Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has just announced her health-care proposal.

Harris says that under her plan, all Americans would be able to buy into Medicare immediately. A "new and improved" Medicare system would then be expanded over the course of a decade, which would "give all doctors time to get into the system, and provide a commonsense path for employers, employees, the underinsured, and others on federally-designated programs, such as Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act exchanges, to transition," she said.

In describing this 10-year transition, Harris calls out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has proposed a transition period of four years, CNN notes. "By extending the phase-in period to 10 years, we will decrease the overall cost of the program compared to the Sanders proposal," Harris said.

Harris' plan would not eliminate private insurers, though. Instead, they would be able to offer their own Medicare plans, so long as they adhere to certain standards.

"Essentially, we would allow private insurance to offer a plan in the Medicare system, but they will be subject to strict requirements to ensure it lowers costs and expands services," Harris said. "If they want to play by our rules, they can be in the system. If not, they have to get out."

After 10 years, Harris says every American would be enrolled in a Medicare plan. "They will get insurance either through the new public Medicare plan or a Medicare plan offered by a private insurer within that system," she said.

Harris says she would raise taxes to pay for this plan, but she once again calls out Sanders' proposal by saying she would exempt households making below $100,000, whereas Sanders would tax households making more than $29,000. Though they won't share the same stage, don't be surprised to hear a rebuttal from Sanders during the first night of Democratic debates on July 30. Brendan Morrow

June 4, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden has unveiled his plan to combat climate change, promising to go "well beyond" the Obama administration.

Biden's proposal unveiled on Tuesday calls for the United States to achieve net-zero emissions and a 100 percent clean energy economy "no later than 2050." The Green New Deal, which Biden praises in his announcement as a "crucial framework," calls for net-zero emissions by 2030, Bloomberg notes. Biden will urge Congress to pass a law that "establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets" within his first year in office.

The proposal calls for a $1.7 trillion federal investment in clean energy and environmental justice over 10 years, which the campaign says would be paid for through tax code changes, such as reversing President Trump's tax cuts for corporations. It also calls for additional investments from the private sector and from state and local governments to bring the total to more than $5 trillion.

Biden additionally says that after rejoining the Paris climate accord, he will push to "dramatically accelerate our worldwide effort" to combat climate change.

The former vice president's announcement specifically says he will go "well beyond" the Obama administration's platform and sign a series of executive orders on his first day. The Associated Press notes that Biden's plan is similar to the one proposed by former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, while its call for a $1.7 trillion federal investment is not as ambitious as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal for $3 trillion in federal spending over 10 years.

Prior to this announcement, Biden had received criticism from Democrats following a report that he would aim for "middle ground" in his plan, which the campaign denied. The Washington Post notes that Biden's plan "leaves unsaid what exactly his enforcement mechanism would look like," while Bloomberg writes that seeing as the proposal's timeline for cutting emissions is not as ambitious as the Green New Deal, it's "unlikely to mute all of his critics." Brendan Morrow

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