Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Thursday will announce a sweeping plan to overhaul public housing as part of their fight against climate change — a $180 billion plan that includes adding solar panels and grant programs for “community gardens.”
The plan, which will be announced outside the Capitol Building on Wednesday afternoon is the left-wing lawmakers’ latest plank in their broader goal of overhauling every aspect of American life with a government-led approach to combat climate change and economic inequality.
The plan, will spend up to $180 billion over 10 years to repair and improve public housing, as well as eliminating carbon emissions. The bill would also fund solar panels and other “secure renewable energy sources.” Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez say it would improve living conditions for nearly two million people.
“The Green New Deal for Public Housing would transition the entire public housing stock of the United States, as swiftly and seamlessly as possible, into zero-carbon, highly energy-efficient developments that produce on-site renewable energy, expand workforce capacity and family self-sufficiency programs and focus on community development,” a release from Sanders’ office says.
It comes after the Green New Deal itself, a multi-trillion plan with a significantly broader scope than this legislation, has gone from a far-left, fringe idea to a mainstream idea among some 2020 Democrats — many of whom have their own version of the plan.
The left-wing lawmakers claim that this more limited bill will “spur economies of scale for weatherization retrofitting, and renewable energy, making them more cost effective and attractive throughout the country” and claims it would create quarter of a million union jobs every year and reduce public housing and energy costs.
“Faced with the global crisis of climate change, the United States must lead the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy,” Sanders said in a statement. “But let us be clear: as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez understands, the Green New Deal is not just about climate change. It is an economic plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and invest in our country’s frontline and vulnerable communities.
Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, said that climate change represents “both a grave threat and a tremendous opportunity.”
That intention, that climate change is the diving board for a deeper overhaul of the U.S. economy to a more left-wing vision of American society is clearer in other parts of the legislation.
The bill outlines how it would create “sustainable communities for families” with a series of grant programs including for childcare, senior centers, clean transit, “healthy food options” and “community gardens.”
Entities seeking to receive grant funding must meet certain requirements, including “Buy America” standards and “high-road labor standards.”
There would be further grants for recycling and zero waste programs and the “expansion of renewable community energy generation.”
Both Sanders, who is running for president, and Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Sanders’ run, have pushed a series of interventionist policies on topics such as climate change, the economy and housing.
The new bill would face a chance of getting through the Democrat-controlled House, but would almost certainly be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Ocasio-Cortez last month unveiled a host of a bills last month aimed at tackling perceived economic injustice — called “The Just Society.” One of those bills, “The Place to Prosper Act,” would impose national rent control by preventing year-over-year rent increases of more than three percent.
Another bill, “The Recognizing Poverty Act,” would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to update the federal poverty level by taking into account “geographic cost variation, costs related to health insurance, work expenses for the family, child care needs, and new necessities, like internet access.” Another bill would urge the U.S. to ratify the U.N.’s Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights