Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Courtesy of Getty images
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have proposed legislation reform of the nation’s public housing industry that would cost up to $172 billion. Under the legislation called the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act which was unveiled on Monday. The two progressives seeks to transition the public housing system “as swiftly and seamlessly as possible” to zero-carbon communities that produce on-site renewable energy according to news report about the proposal.
The $172,000 investment in public system would be invested over a period of 10 years The overhaul of the public housing system and would affect nearly 2 million people living in some 950,000 public housing homes. The sponsors claim that the legislation would reduce the cost of water bills among public housing residents by 30% and is predicted to cut energy-utility bills by up to 70% per year. And it would create about 240,000 union jobs, according to Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, goes far further than President Joe Biden’s planned $2.3 trillion spending package, which includes about $40 billion to improve public housing infrastructure.
Ocasio-Cortez spoke about the rental housing conditions in New York city, saying that Housing Authority needs to address the huge backlog of maintenance repairs, chipping lead paint broken heating systems and gas utilizes included in President’s Biden’s proposal a $40 billion investment which is currently in the American Job Plan.
The legislation comes as Democratic lawmakers have expressed a willingness to negotiate with Republican about the scope of Biden’s infrastructure spending package. At this stage, Republicans want to avoid a Democratic override of the filibuster, but are also firm in the stance that they don’t want the package to be paid for with a 7-point hike in the corporate tax rate as is proposed.
The legislation also seeks to repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which prevents any net increase in new public housing developments. It would additionally mandate those given funds to guarantee collective bargaining for workers and use material in construction that are substantially manufactured mined, and produced in the United States.
Given how much further the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act goes as compared to Biden’s proposed amount of spending on public housing and centrist Democrats’ desire to gain Republican support, the proposed $172 billion public housing plan most likely be a tough act to sell.