Fox News reporter, Psaki spar over ‘green jobs’
Fox News White House reporter Peter Doocy crossed swords Monday with White House press secretary Jen Psaki over President Joe Biden‘s promise to give “green jobs” to workers who used to work in the fossil fuels industry.
At Monday’s daily White House press briefing, Doocy asked Psaki about when and where thousands of such former fossil fuels industry workers can apply for a green job.
“When is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers, whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers, who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of the Biden EO, when it is and where it is they can go for their green job?” Doocy asked.
“That is something the administration has promised,” he added. “There is now a gap, so I’m just curious when that happens, when those people can count on that.”
Psaki replied, “I certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job. Maybe next time you’re here you can present that.”
The day Biden was sworn in, he signed an executive order rescinding the permit that had been granted for building the Keystone XL pipeline, which was set to link Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This revoking of the grant is expected to cost about 11,000 U.S. jobs. The company at the helm of constructing the pipeline, TC Energy, said on January 20 that it will eliminate about 1,000 construction jobs due to the executive order, per Reuters.
Doocy then pointed out to Psaki that she previously said those workers would be getting “green jobs” and quoted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a friend of the president, having said he wished Biden had more carefully “paired” the job losses in the fossil fuels industry and the job creation in the green energy industry.
“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day, because the Laborers International was right. It did and will cost us jobs in the process,” Trumka told Jonathan Swan of Axios.
“I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs,’” he added, saying he believed Biden knows his announcement was “a mistake.”
When the press secretary pressed Doocy on that quote, saying he didn’t talk about the rest of the Trumka interview with Axios published Sunday, he added that the “Labor International Union of North America said that the Keystone decision will cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs.”
“What Mr. Trumka also indicated in the same interview was that President Biden has proposed a climate plan with transformative investments and infrastructure, and laid out a plan that will not only create millions of good union jobs, but also help tackle the climate crisis,” Psaki fired back. “And, as the president has indicated when he gave his prime time address to talk about the American Rescue Plan, he talked about his plans to also put forward a jobs plan in the weeks or months following. And he has every plan to do exactly that.”
“But there are people living paycheck to paycheck. There are now people out of jobs once the Keystone pipeline stops construction […] So what do these people who need money now, when do they get their green jobs?” Doocy responded.
“The president and many Democrats and Republicans in Congress believe that investment in infrastructure, building infrastructure, that’s in our national interests, boosts the U.S. economy, creates good-paying union jobs here in America, and advances our climate and clean energy goals, are something that we can certainly work on doing together, and he has every plan to share more about his details of that plan in the weeks ahead,” Psaki replied.
In January, the Biden administration released its $2 trillion environmental plan inspired in large part by the “Green New Deal” that progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have been pushing for. Biden’s plan includes eliminating coal, oil, and natural gas as sources of electricity by 2035.
Ocasio-Cortez herself noted the similiarities between her Green New Deal and the Biden plan after its unveiling.
“It’s almost as if we helped shape the platform,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet, followed by a winking face emoji, when replying to a post from NBC’s Geoff Bennett in which he noticed similarities between the Biden’s executive actions and Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal proposal.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.