Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced a proposal Monday to refurbish public housing throughout the U.S.
The “Green New Deal for Public Housing” would spend up to $180 billion on grants over 10 years to “retrofit, rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock,” Sanders said in a statement. Affecting nearly 2 million people living in the nation’s 950,000 public housing units, the plan would aim to enhance building efficiency, improve water quality and upgrade energy sources to include solar power. The bill also includes provisions addressing labor standards and job training, with the goal of creating thousands of high-paying jobs in the green economy.
The bill would also repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which caps the number of public housing units at 1999 levels and severely limits the construction of new public housing.
Influencing Biden’s plan: By proposing far more than the $40 billion the White House says it wants to spend on public housing, the progressive lawmakers may be trying to shape President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Republican opposition to including green energy plans in the infrastructure package – “Republicans are not going to partner with Democrats on the Green New Deal or on raising taxes to pay for it,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said last month – has inspired some liberal Democrats to call for going it alone, in the hope of passing a massive bill on a partisan basis that touches on a wide variety of their priorities.
“Probably our best bet would be one bill — and it should be a large bill,” Sanders told The New York Times. “I think it’s just easier and more efficient for us to work as hard as we can in a comprehensive broad infrastructure plan, which includes human infrastructure as well as physical infrastructure.”