Low-Hanging Fruit For COVID Stimulus And Decarbonization
Bipartisan Opportunities in Energy, Agriculture, and Infrastructure
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a public health and economic disaster unlike any seen in modern history. At the time this memo was published, over 250 million Americans were under a shelter in place order, the unemployment rate was surpassing 10 percent, and the U.S. death toll was expected to exceed 60,000. According to JP Morgan, U.S. GDP is expected to fall at an annualized rate of 25 percent or more in the second quarter of 2020, an alarming trend that will surely be countered by substantial federal action.
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The federal government has rightly been focused on saving as many American lives and livelihoods as possible, and the $2 trillion economic rescue package known as the CARES Act (H.R. 748) and actions taken by the Federal Reserve will cushion the immediate health and economic pain. However, it will take years of concerted effort from policymakers and historic public expenditure on technology and infrastructure to ensure a full recovery from the dual public health and economic emergencies.
These needed investments offer a singular opportunity to accelerate the transition toward cleaner and lower-carbon technologies and infrastructure.
Innovation, infrastructure modernization, and support for low-carbon growth can help reset the U.S. economy in a manner that supports rapid job growth and lowers emissions.
While there will most likely be numerous rounds of economic rescue and recovery packages, in the short term policymakers will likely place a premium on investments and initiatives that can be capitalized and deployed quickly. Despite the polarized political climate, there are many proposals with bipartisan support that have already been thoroughly vetted in the 116th Congress. This memo details these bills, which call for robust investments in energy and agricultural innovation, the modernization of our transportation system, electrical grid, and natural infrastructure, and incentives for low-carbon energy deployment and agricultural conservation. Altogether, the policies and initiatives included here amount to $520 billion in federal spending and could help support as many as 9 million American jobs.
- In responding to the economic and public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have a unique opportunity to reset the U.S. economy in a manner that ensures the U.S. workforce is at the forefront of the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Despite the polarized political climate, there are many bipartisan proposals for robust and broad federal investment in infrastructure, energy, and agriculture.
- Altogether, enacting these bills would amount to as much as $520 billion in federal spending and could support as many as 9 million American jobs.