HomeOpen Thread4/20 Mary Jane Day; Open Thread
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More on the GND Public Housing Act


Top liberal lawmakers unveiled legislation on Monday that would pour more than $100 billion over a decade into modernizing the public housing system and starting a transition to renewable energy, as progressives seek to prod President Biden to expand his far-reaching infrastructure plan.

The legislation, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, is the first of multiple proposals from progressives who are trying to shape the president’s $2.3 trillion package, which Mr. Biden has said aims both to overhaul infrastructure and to address climate change and economic inequities.

Its proponents estimate that it would invest at least triple the amount that Mr. Biden has proposed to tackle a large backlog of improvements to the nation’s aging public housing system.

The proposal reflects the fraught politics surrounding the plan on Capitol Hill: To pass his plan, Mr. Biden can probably afford to lose no more than a few Democratic votes given the potential for united Republican opposition. Republicans say they want to compromise on the measure, but have largely panned it as too costly and expansive, and condemned the idea of paying for it through tax increases. Democrats are broadly in favor, but their leaders will have to navigate between the demands of liberals like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Sanders, who want even more spending, and moderates who have signaled they would support a smaller package that could draw some Republican backing.

The progressives’ latest proposal, called the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, is a prong of the broader climate platform that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and others have long championed to help the United States wean itself from fossil fuels. It would repeal limitations on the construction of public housing and create grant programs to ensure improvements that not only address unsafe and aging housing, but reduce carbon emissions.

“We’re here to make sure the Democratic Party upholds its values and keeps its promises, and to also push and expand the scope and the ambition of the Democratic Party,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview. She and other liberal lawmakers are expected to reintroduce additional parts of the Green New Deal platform this week.

To qualify for the grants, recipients would have to adhere to strong labor standards, such as protection of collective bargaining rights and the use of American manufacturing and products. The legislation would also fund tenant protection vouchers for displaced residents and create apprenticeship programs for residents.

“What’s different now is there really is an opportunity — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — to address this backlog and have Congress address the funding that’s needed,” said Diane Yentel, the president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This may be the moment, at long last.”

When Mr. Biden outlined his proposal last month, he called for more than $40 billion to improve public housing infrastructure. At an event in New York on Sunday, a group of lawmakers from the state, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, pushed for at least double that figure.

“Public housing has been neglected, left to get worse, and we’re not going to stand for it anymore,” Mr. Schumer said. The president’s plan, he added, was “a good start, but it ain’t enough.”

Mr. Sanders, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and their allies envision their proposal costing $119 billion to $172 billion over 10 years to meet the needs of the country, according to an estimate from the Climate + Community Project provided to The New York Times. It aims to create thousands of maintenance and construction jobs.



Prominent progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both used their Monday addresses at the J Street lobby’s national conference to call for regulating US aid to Israel, asserting that such assistance should not be allowed to bankroll Israeli policies in the West Bank that damage prospects for a two-state solution.

The stances appeared to mark a shift by more left-wing Democrats away from talk of “conditioning” aid to Israel to “restricting” it.

The former term was used by several candidates during the recent US presidential campaign, including Sanders and Warren — implying that some or all of the $3.8 billion in aid that the US has agreed to give Israel over a 10-year period should potentially be withheld based on actions taken by the Israeli government.

In shifting to talk of “restricting” aid, progressive Democrats, with J Street’s backing, are not calling to limit the amount of already-agreed-upon aid, but are rather seeking greater control of how it may and may not be used.

“If we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to
consider all of the tools we have at our disposal,” Warren told J Street in prerecorded remarks played on the second day of the left-wing, pro-Israel lobby’s virtual conference.

“One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course,” she added.


A lot of Americans are sick and tired of dealing with worn out infrastructure so right wing azzholes who love Netanyaboob can get richer. 💩💩


Seems very moderate to me. Couldn’t Netanyahu et al just circumvent any attempted controls by some clever accounting?



Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont did not mince words as he backed growing calls for the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to receive proper medical treatment.

“Make no mistake about what is happening here: activist Aleksei Navalny is being murdered in front of the world by Vladimir Putin for the crime of exposing Putin’s vast corruption. Navalny’s doctors must be allowed to see him immediately,” Sanders said in a tweet on Sunday.

The Russian embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The Vermont senator’s criticism of the Russian president came after Navalny’s doctor said he could “die at any moment.” The Biden administration has told Russia there will be consequences if Navalny dies.



A bicameral group of dozens of lawmakers led by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and other prominent progressives sent a letter Monday urging President Joe Biden to include “desperately needed” improvements to the Supplemental Security Income program in his forthcoming American Families Plan, which is expected to focus on child care and other key domestic priorities.

Bolstering SSI—a lifeline for around eight million elderly Americans and people with disabilities—should be among those priorities, the lawmakers argue in their letter (pdf), noting that the program’s beneficiaries “are all too frequently left behind.”

“People with disabilities and older adults receiving SSI represent some of the most marginalized members of our society. History will not forgive us if we fail to address their needs in the recovery effort,” reads the letter, which was also signed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

Pointing out that SSI’s monthly maximum benefit level is currently just $794 for individuals—well below the federal poverty line—the lawmakers call on Biden to propose raising payments to “at least 100% of the federal poverty line,” a change that would provide hundreds of dollars in additional benefits per month to the program’s most vulnerable recipients.

The letter also presses Biden to increase SSI’s stringent asset limit and index it to inflation in the future. At present, the lawmakers point out, eligibility for SSI is restricted to individuals with no more than $2,000 in “countable resources”—a limit that has not been updated since 1984 despite soaring costs of living.

“Because this limit is not indexed to inflation, it grows steadily more draconian each year,” the lawmakers write. “Lifting this asset cap is long overdue and is also consistent with your campaign commitments.”

The lawmakers additionally call for an update to the amount of income SSI recipients are able to earn per month and still be eligible for the program, as well as an end to rules that reduce benefits for those who receive assistance—including food and shelter—from friends or family members.

“These reforms are not only consistent with the imperatives of disability and economic equality. They would also advance racial justice,” the letter states. “Nearly 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic Americans receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI )benefits also receive SSI payments, due to the low level of their disability insurance awards. By strengthening the SSI program, you will be taking strong and necessary steps to alleviate poverty that disproportionately impacts disabled people of color.”


As someone who benefited from SSDI, I say AMEN X 1M!! I will gladly pay for it in taxes!


To me its like an Insurance that i may never need but good to know its thier just in case so i dont mind paying for it…






Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine continues to be one of the top fundraisers in the U.S. House of Representatives, bringing in nearly $2.2 million in donations over the first three months of this year, according to financial reports posted this week with the Federal Election Commission.

That’s half a million dollars more than Orange County’s six other House representatives raised last quarter combined.


That is a very good way to say fuck you, Pelousy!!

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Yep. And I’ve noticed emails in my spam box from Pelousy over the last month or two, as well as ads on yt. I guess she’s taking AOC’s criticism seriously that the establishment who railed about almost losing their seats (and tried to blame it on the progressives) had no presence on social media (and no platform).



Charles Pierce


Our politics can never truly move forward on anything until there is a final and complete reckoning of the only organized mob coup d’etat in the country’s history. The longer that reckoning is delayed, the harder it’s going to be for the country and its politicians to recover public confidence in the government’s institutions, without which self-government itself is a limping, spavined farce. If the Democratic congressional majorities have to go it alone, then they should. If Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice needs to be the venue for that reckoning, then so be it. It’s too important to be hostage to a party that has lost its mind, and that’s funding its operation on the public’s mania.



Congress’s pursuit of an independent investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection is facing long odds, as bipartisan resolve to hold the perpetrators and instigators accountable erodes, and Republicans face sustained pressure to disavow that it was supporters of former president Donald Trump who attacked the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced late last week that she had drafted a fresh proposal for an outside commission to examine what caused the deadly riot. But in a sign of how delicate the political climate has become, she has yet to share her recommendations with Republican leaders, who shot down her initial approach, labeling it too narrow in scope and too heavily weighted toward Democrats in composition.
“Compromise has been necessary,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to other Democrats, informing them she had begun to share her latest proposal with other Republicans in Congress. “It is my hope that we can reach agreement very soon.”

Behind the scenes, Democrats are developing contingency plans. Pelosi acknowledged this week that one backup option is to appoint a select committee of House members to investigate events surrounding the riot, though she told USA Today that it was “not my preference.” Another would be to defer to congressional committees that are currently examining the failures in planning that left the Capitol vulnerable to attack, which Pelosi has called a potential “resource” to a future commission, should one be established.


“Republicans face sustained pressure to disavow that it was supporters of former president Donald Trump who attacked the U.S. Capitol.” WHAT????

exactly why there MUST be a thorough investigation by impeccable people.


This old woman needs to retire next year. What is her problem?


and the whole gd chain of command and police force in this country.


Filibuster will have to be gotten rid of to pass it though.


The White House on Tuesday formally declared its support for a House bill that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C., saying it would provide the residents of the District with “long overdue full representation in Congress.”

“Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy. “Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The statement further called for Congress “to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”


Washington, the District of Columbia, the 51st state. As a native, I am cheering for this to happen. 🙂 Puerto Rico should be next if the folks there want it.



We shouldn’t let it be forgotten that Donald Trump ran for reelection on a monstrous lie. If Joe Biden won, then-President Trump told us, the mentally declining Biden would fall captive to his party’s rabid socialist left flank, which would immediately drive the country into a depression.

This lie lives on — Republicans continue to tell repurposed versions of it right now — yet precisely the opposite is happening. It’s not just that the center and left of the Democratic Party are working together more collaboratively than expected. It’s also that Biden’s willing incorporation of leftist ideas is exactly why he’s posting some early successes.

New details about the next big phase of President Biden’s jobs and infrastructure package provide an occasion to consider how and why this is happening, and what it means for our politics.

That next phase will involve another $1 trillion in proposed spending on various family support programs, on top of the $2 trillion infrastructure plan that congressional Democrats are assembling. The Post reports on some of the new plan’s emerging details:

This plan embodies some core insights of progressive economics: Our caregiving economy has been woefully underfunded, and the crucial societal contribution of care work — including child care — is badly under-compensated. Far too many are denied basic human goods like college education and the opportunity to take time off of work to heal or spend time with a newborn.

And throughout U.S. history, amid periods where the economy failed large numbers of Americans, government policy has created new foundations for better life prospects and expanded economic opportunity. It must do so again.

Similar insights undergird the $2 trillion jobs plan and the already-passed $2 trillion Covid-19 rescue package. The former would employ large public investments to rebuild infrastructure and engineer our inevitable transition to a decarbonized economy. The latter uses them to stimulate the economy and bail out those suffering terrible economic travails amid the Covid-19 collapse.

Republicans have attacked all of these as a “liberal wish list,” as not “real” infrastructure, or as reckless spending that will drive up the deficits that only matter under Democratic presidents. They have declared that corporate tax hikes to pay for the plans will scuttle the recovery.

In short, Republicans have repurposed the lie that Democrats are captive to leftist ideas that are fundamentally radical and destructive. Yet they are proving overwhelmingly popular. Large majorities approve of the infrastructure proposals and approve of the Covid rescue package. If these are radical leftist ideas, then big majorities of Americans approve of radical leftist ideas.


yup. don’t forget that dems used the same attacks and refuse to go the extra mile.


Radical leftist? The only radical here are the FRightwingnuts and their Turd Way/craporate allies.


Thom Hartmann


The GOP Has Blood on Their Hands

As of last Friday, April 16, there have been 147 mass shootings in the US this year, a 73% increase over last year. Psychologists describe it as “a contagion,” sort of like Covid. The more people do it, the more people will do it. We’ve known for decades that this is also how suicide works, which is why schools treat student suicide so differently from every other kind of death.

And, like with Covid, Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure that the contagious agent—in this case, a gun—is widely and freely available to anybody who may want it.

President Biden and the Democrats just proposed legislation that would limit gun magazines to no more than 10 rounds; Republicans are outraged.

After all, if you’re going to wage war against your government because it’s become “tyrannical” by offering things like free college, Medicare for All, and a wealth tax on billionaires to pay for it all, you’re gonna need a hell of a lot more than just 10 rounds.

For most of the 18 years I’ve been doing my daily radio and TV show, I’ve been saying that, at the very least, we should regulate guns the same way we do cars. I lay out the details in my book The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment.

The gun should be registered with the state and that registration should renew every year just like a car; the gun owner should be licensed and must demonstrate proficiency and pass a written exam just like a car driver; and there must be an insurance company writing a mandatory liability policy so when someone’s hurt or killed with a gun they or their family get the same kind of financial cushion they would have had they been hit by a car.


substance abuse contributes to this and like guns, we tend to a) celebrate it b) demand robotic and/or marathon performance at work, both of which make it worse. the pandemic then magnified it. im hoping that people had so much time that they finally are seeking help, if they need it.


I agree with Thom 100% on licensing and regulating guns just like cars. BTW, can we reactivate making assault weapons illegal….period?!


Another example of how important those Georgia senate wins were.


It wasn’t long ago that the future looked bleak for Birmingham.

The pandemic had blown a $63 million hole in the Alabama city’s finances, and the costs were piling up: furloughed workers, slashed salaries, cuts to programs as varied as the arts and the zoo. On the day last fall that the city council passed its red-ink-streaked budget, angry librarians protested outside.

But the atmosphere abruptly changed this month when the city’s Democratic congresswoman came to town bearing an outsized $148 million check. The symbolic bank note, bearing President Biden’s signature, reflects the city’s allotment of federal coronavirus relief funds. It also represents, said Mayor Randall Woodfin (D), an opportunity to fix Birmingham’s biggest problems.

“It’s a fundamental game-changer for our city,” Woodfin said.

Across America, cities that were cash-strapped and beleaguered only months ago now find themselves flush with money and ready to spend.

Although city leaders say their first job will be to heal the damage, many believe they will be able to go beyond that and address some of the root inequities that the coronavirus pandemic laid bare.

In Birmingham — a city of just over 200,000 — Woodfin said investing in minority-owned businesses, constructing affordable housing and strengthening child mental health care will be high on his priority list.
In Seattle, local leaders plan to vastly expand a program, modeled on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, that pays the homeless to clean up parks and roadways.

And in St. Louis, the newly elected mayor is examining whether $500 million in aid ­— equivalent to nearly half the city’s annual budget — is enough to pay residents a basic income.

“Ever since I’ve been in office, we’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Tishaura Jones (D), who was St. Louis’s treasurer for eight years before being elected mayor this month. “This is the first time we won’t have to do that. We’ll be able to make some investments.”


This is excellent.