The Women’s Marches that took place across the country – some 250 of them including Washington DC and New York City – are the opening salvo to the 2020 Election. Make no mistake, this was about voting, realizing that all the issues that they care about hinge on the coming election and not on changing the minds of lawmakers who currently control the levers of power: reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to self-determination; access to the ballot and access to health care; climate action and environmental justice; gun safety and domestic violence; gender equity, sexism and misogyny; discrimination and sexual harassment; immigration reform and human rights. They are all on the ballot this November.
And the Supreme Court and all the courts now
dominated by radical right-wing judges that seek to roll back women’s rights,
civil rights, voting rights, health-care-is-a-human-right. “Ruth Bader
Ginsburg, hold on,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer declared as the
march set off down Columbus Avenue, passed the Trump International Hotel, where
the most animated expressions of outrage against Trump and his administration
A singular, unifying message emerged: Dump Trump and
his henchmen and his enablers.
And a theme for the New York City march organized by Women’s March Alliance (womensmarchalliance.org): Rise & Roar.
Though it is unlikely that women will re-create the 750,000 who marched on Washington with millions more around the world who turned out in 2017 in the largest single day of protest in history, vastly outnumbering those who came out the day before on the National Mall to watch Trump swear to uphold the Constitution and protect the nation against enemies foreign and domestic, it is crucial that people turn out for the women’s marches in Washington, DC (Meet at Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. at 10 am, womensmarch.com), New York City (at Central Park West & 72nd Street, 11 am, womensmarchalliance.org) and many other cities in 2020, taking place on Saturday, January 18.
The disappointing reality after that
first spectacular Women’s March is how little it accomplished. Lawmakers could
care less, based on the policies they enacted, including moving so close to
repealing Obamacare except for Senator McCain’s last-second vote, and tax
policy that discriminated against women’s health, and shifted $1 trillion in
resources from infrastructure and services for everyday Americans to the
richest 1% and corporations. They could care less for the hundreds of
thousands who pleaded for sensible gun laws, or for climate action and
There isn’t even the same buzz as in
the 2018 march in Washington and around the country (200,000 attended in New York City,
alone) , so much more significant because the protest was less about
“converting” lawmakers than mobilizing voter registration, inspiring
women to run for elected office, and driving turnout in the November mid-terms.
And they did in historic numbers, putting Democrats back in control of
the House which put the brakes to the extent possible on the worst impulses of
Trump and the Republicans. “I can do whatever I want as president,” Trump
declared at a Turning Point event with young Republicans. (After the House
Republican majority’s first success in repealing Obamacare in 2017, Trump said,
‘I’m president. Can you believe it?”)
In 2019, tens of thousands
marched in New York City, calling for action on a Woman’s Agenda
that encompasses everything from pay parity, paid parental leave, affordable
child care and pre-K to immigration reform, gun violence prevention, climate
action, criminal justice reform – in other words, the gamut of social,
political, environmental and economic justice. And yes, reproductive freedom.
During 2019, which opened with Trump
declaring a “national emergency” to justify shutting down the federal
government in order to extort billions to build his wall, migrants continued to
be separated and die in custody, thousands were sent to horrific and dangerous
conditions in Mexico; gun violence reached new heights; climate disasters have
exploded around the globe; and reproductive freedom has been further
600,000 women lost birth control
coverage last year because of the Trump Administration’s attacks on your
healthcare; funding for women’s health clinics has been eliminated and
artificial barriers to their operation have forced many to close. The Hyde
Amendment which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, serves as a
de facto ban for a quarter of low-income women.
Even more is at stake in 2020, when
Trump and Trumpism is on the ballot. Over this first term, he has been
increasingly emboldened and unbridled, to the point where he believes he can
unleash a war while schmoozing on the golf course.
So far, the organizers of this
Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, took out a permit for 10,000.
The women’s movement, inexplicably
and yet probably not, has gotten wound up, bogged down and even subverted with
other issues – racism, anti-Semitism. Leaders are bending over backwards to
show how progressive, how inclusive they are, and moving away from the key
issues that women are fighting for.
Women’s issues wind up being about
all these other issues because all of them affect women’s ability to have equal
opportunity, earn what they deserve in order to provide for their families: war
and peace, climate change, living wage, public education, health care,
affordable pharmaceuticals, clean air and water, voting rights, gun safety,
DACA and immigration reform.
But at the heart of all of them is
women’s reproductive rights, under threat as never before by a radical
right-wingers in Congress and on the courts determined to disregard law and
precedent and overturn Roe v Wade (along with Obamacare) with a Supreme Court
that has been shifted radically right because of the illegitimate appointments
secured by Trump and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (along with hundreds of
judges throughout the federal court system that are long-lasting bombs to
womens rights and civil rights.
The Roe v Wade decision in 1973
ruled that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to
have an abortion without excessive government restriction – in other words, it
was built upon some extrapolation of privacy and property rights, rather than
Overturning Roe v Wade would mean
that women, unlike men, are not entitled to the same right to
self-determination, to make their own judgments and choices for their health,
their body, their family or their lives. And like all those other cases that
Ginsburg argued as the leading gender rights lawyer for the ACLU before
becoming Supreme Court Justice, it would re-establish the systemic barriers to
women (not men) to fulfill all their aspirations and abilities. It is as
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for president, said, when women
are forced out of the career track, they never get back to where they were if
they return at all. This I s the result of unaffordable, inaccessible quality
child care and the lack of universal pre-K.
It would essentially make women a subject
of the state, forced to give up professional aspirations to care for a child,
or spend inordinate amounts of money and resources on child care, put women
into poverty because all of these social services are also being tied to work
while doing nothing to make childcare affordable, taking away food stamps and
school lunch. It’s not one thing, it’s many different elements.
As Justice Ginsburg said, “The
decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her
well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the
government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a
fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”
And the Supreme Court decision would
not necessarily mean that the state you live in would determine if you might
have access to abortion, which would set up a different category of unequal
protection – their ruling could make abortion illegal nationwide by
establishing “personhood” rights of a fetus, in which case the fetus would have
more rights than its mother.
Women are marching for affordable
child care, quality public education, affordable and accessible health care
without higher cost for women or for pre-existing conditions (which before
Obamacare rendered women of child-bearing age), or lifetime caps on coverage at
a time when middle class families are spending 20% of income ($12,000/year) on
health insurance, 35 million can’t afford life saving drugs they are
prescribed, 30,000 die prematurely because of lack of access to health care,
and 500,000 go bankrupt because of medical bills.
Women are marching for environmental
justice at a time when the Trump Administration is making it easy for polluters
to destroy the air and water producing creating public health issues such as
asthma affecting a child’s ability to succeed in school, and worker
productivity. It means climate justice at a time when the Trump Administration
is actually prosecuting those who would try to reduce carbon emissions (they
are trying to prosecute the four auto manufacturers who said they would comply
with California’s emissions standards for anti-trust violations), while
families are losing their homes, their workplaces and communities have to spend
fortune to rebuild after climate disasters.
Women are marching for gun safety so
that parents and children don’t have the constant anxiety and school districts
and communities don’t have to spend a fortune on security rather than programs
that benefit people.
This year’s march may be the most
important one, just as the 2020 election is the most important one of our
lifetimes (and yes, 2016, as we now know, was the most important election up
until this one).
The march is an affirmation, brings
like-minded people together, validates our case, and yes, motivates and
provides a platform for people to run for office, as in 2018, and win their
The march is not about “them” it is
That is why it is so very important
to have a strong turnout for this year’s marches, the fourth year in a row,
especially in 2020, the centennial of women winning the right to vote,
especially in this election year when the nation faces an existential threat
from its own government. Women must turn out, and continue the momentum
of 2018 into the 2020 election.
Virginia could be the 38th
state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would make the ERA the 28th
amendment to the Constitution, though the opponents argue that the votes by the
other 37 states have expired, and we’ll have to go through this entire 60-year
process all over again. (Trump’s
The opponents argue there is no
reason for an amendment that certifies the equal rights of all people. But
based on the policies, laws and lawsuits at the federal and state level, an ERA
is more necessary than ever, because as we have seen from the Supreme Court,
precedents like Roe v Wade and one-person, one-vote, or equal protection for
all are fungible.
This is a crucial year for women to
turn out, not allow the momentum of 2018 to be lost, but rev up for the 2020 election.
So whip out those pink pussy hats
and march for women’s rights on Saturday, January 18. March as if your ability
to determine your own future is at stake.
While most Americans give little consideration to foreign policy credentials of their candidates for president, over the “kitchen table” issues such as health care, education, taxes, foreign policy should loom largely over the 2020 election as Americans are waking up to the fact that while a president is for the most part constrained by the legislative branch (Congress) on what can be accomplished domestically (recall how Republicans obstructed Obama on health care, immigration reform, gun safety, climate action and infrastructure and why Medicare for All, a wealth tax may still be a pipe dream), a president is virtually unrestrained in making foreign policy at a time when the world is smaller and more globally interdependent, such as addressing climate change.
And while the Constitution theoretically gives Congress the power to declare war, presidents have found loopholes in addressing “imminent threats.” Trump has gone so much further in pulling out of treaties (the Iran nuclear deal), trade agreements and mutual assistance pacts like the Paris Climate Accord, while taking actions to weaken NATO alliance. The way he has dealt with North Korea has only made the world less safe and the list goes on: Iraq, Syria and ISIS, Turkey and the Kurds, Yemen, Venezuela, Australia.
Of the Democratic candidates for president, Vice President Joe Biden is hoping that voters will appreciate his vast experience (which Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg try to diminish because of his vote, along with just about every other Senator, to give George Bush power to address what they were told (lied) was an imminent threat of Saddam Hussein’s use of Weapons of Mass Destruction).
Now there are a few Democrats, like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who are introducing legislation to rescind the 2002 AUMF and require the President to get Congress’ authorization for use of military force, make it specific and require reauthorization after a period of time. But that is already in the Constitution and they are faced with a president who has demonstrated over and over he does not respect the bounds or oversight on him by the Constitution, with Congress apparently unwilling to do anything about it.
Vice President returned to New York to speak again on foreign policy and the unfolding situation in Iran, drawing a contrast to how Trump has mishandled the situation. These are his prepared remarks:
Six months ago, here in New York City, I made the case that Donald Trump was “dangerously incompetent and incapable … of world leadership.”
In the past few days, in the wake of the killing of Iranian General Soleimani, Donald Trump has proven it beyond dispute.
The haphazard decision-making process that led up to it, the failure to consult our allies or Congress, and the reckless disregard for the consequences that would surely follow — was dangerously incompetent.
In the wake of such an enormous escalation that has exploded geo-politics in the region and put the United States and Iran on a collision course, what would we expect of an American President – and what have we heard from President Trump?
We have not heard a sober-minded explanation to reassure the American people about his decision and its consequences.
Not level-headed words meant to dial down tensions and take us off the path of conflict.
No press conference or consultation with Congress.
No — all we have heard from this president is tweets. Threats. Tantrums.
And all we have heard from his administration are shifting explanations, evasive answers, and repeated assertions of an imminent threat, without the necessary evidence to support that conclusion.
And since this is a president with a history of lying about everything — who has destroyed his own credibility, and that of the United States on the global stage — neither the American people, nor our allies, are inclined to take his word for it.
If there was an imminent threat that required extraordinary action, then we are owed that explanation — and the facts to back it up.
These are matters of deadly import, so let me be unmistakably clear: Donald Trump does not have the authority to go to war with Iran without Congressional authorization.
Working with Congress is not an optional part of the job. Presidential notification to Congress about the need to exercise war powers cannot be satisfied in 280 characters or less.
And no president should ever take the United States to war without securing the informed consent of the American people.
So — because he refuses to level with the American people about the danger in which he has placed American troops and our diplomatic personnel and civilians, as well as our partners and allies, or to demonstrate even a modicum of presidential gravitas — I will.
That starts with an honest accounting of how we got here.
Make no mistake: this outcome of strategic setbacks, heightened threats, chants of “death to America” once more echoing across the Middle East, Iran and its allies vowing revenge. This was avoidable.
The seeds of these dangers were planted by Donald Trump himself on May 8, 2018 — the day he tore up the Iran nuclear deal, against the advice of his own top national security advisors. The day he turned his back on our closest European allies, and decided it was more important to him to destroy any progress made by the Obama-Biden Administration than build on it to create a better, safer world.
When we had the Iran Deal, we had verifiably cut off every one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon. International inspectors repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance, as did our intelligence agencies. One of the greatest threats to stability in the region and global security was off the table.
And when the Iran Deal was in force, we did not have this dangerous cycle of tit-for-tat provocation and response.
There was a united front of allies and partners to address Iran’s other destabilizing actions throughout the region.
The Iran Deal was not only accomplishing the critical mission it was designed for, it created an environment where diplomacy was possible.
But Trump walked away — not Iran.
Trump made the United States the international outlier.
Trump re-imposed significant sanctions designed to exert “maximum pressure” on the regime, with claims that it would deter Iranian aggression and return Iran to the negotiating table to secure a much-promised “better deal.” And on both fronts, as many anticipated at the time, Trump’s promises were empty, baseless, and naïve.
And since then, all that has materialized is an utterly predictable cycle of escalating conflict with Iran.
Of course Iran would seek to demonstrate that the pressure we were exerting was not cost free – that it could take actions to make life more difficult for us, as well.
So Iran began again to enrich uranium beyond the limits allowed under the Iran deal. Iran attacked oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone.
Yet the administration had no plan to prevent, mitigate, or appropriately respond to these provocations. Instead, Trump acted erratically and impulsively. He ordered a retaliatory strike, then called it off at the last minute — feeding Iran’s sense of impunity.
Then, the administration imposed more sanctions, shot down an Iranian drone, issued a warrant to seize an Iranian oil tanker.
Before long, Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities and Iranian-backed militia in Iraq restarted rocket attacks against our bases. Until one of those attacks, against our base in Kirkuk, killed a U.S. citizen and wounded others. It was a tragic loss of life, and an act condemned by all Americans.
In response, Trump bombed five sites in Iraq and Syria tied to the militia group, killing at least 25.
Iraqi protestors, organized by Iranian-backed militia, assaulted our Embassy in Baghdad and breached the outer wall. No injuries were reported, but Trump was embarrassed by the images of a burnt-out reception area.
He ordered a drone strike to kill Soleimani — perhaps the second most important official in Iran — near the Baghdad airport. And rushed thousands more troops to the region to deal with the fallout.
Action and reaction. Provocation and response. All predictable — and, indeed, all predicted.
A president who says he wants to end endless war in the Middle East is bringing us dangerously close to starting a new one.
A president who says he wants out of the region sends more than 18,000 additional troops to deal with a crisis of his own making.
And an administration that claims its actions have made Americans safer in the same breath urges our citizens to leave Iraq and puts Americans throughout the region on notice because of the increased danger.
I have no illusions about Iran. The regime has long sponsored terrorism and threatened our interests. It continues to detain American citizens. They’ve ruthlessly killed hundreds of protesters, and they should be held accountable for their actions.
But there is a smart way to counter them — and a self-defeating way. Trump’s approach is demonstrably the latter.
Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops and thousands of innocent lives throughout the region. He was the mastermind, but he was not the whole of the regime or its capacity to strike back.
So the question is: was the reward of removing a bad actor worth the risk of what comes next?
We don’t have any evidence to suggest that Trump or anyone around him thought seriously about that calculus. It’s been reported that the Pentagon — which has long warned against taking a shot like this — was shocked that Trump would take such a risk.
This is not just a question of whether Iran will retaliate — it almost certainly will — but what it will mean for our troops and our personnel throughout the region. What it will mean for our allies and partners who also have troops in harm’s way that are impacted by this decision. What it will mean for our long-term mission to counter Iran and prevent ISIS from bouncing back, and our ability to pursue our broader strategic aims in the region.
Already, we are seeing the fall out.
Iran has declared it will no longer abide by any of the constraints set up under the nuclear deal — putting it back on track to obtaining material for a nuclear weapon, and pushing the region closer to a nuclear crisis.
Our forces in Iraq and Syria are now focused on protecting themselves and preparing to leave — putting the counter-ISIS mission on hold, and allowing a deadly terrorist organization the room to regroup and reactivate.
The Iraqi parliament has voted to eject all American and coalition forces from the country. And however you may feel about an American military presence in the Middle East, there is a right way and a wrong way to draw down our troop presence. Getting unceremoniously kicked out is unequivocally the wrong way. And if we do end up having to leave, that would be another boon to Iran — tipping the balance of power in the region.
Where, just weeks ago, there were spontaneous protests across Iran against the regime, the killing of Soleimani has taken that pressure off the regime.
Trump’s impulsive decision may well do more to strengthen Iran’s position in the region, than any of Soleimani’s plots could have ever accomplished.
Whether or not we see more loss of life, more threats against American interests and assets — this is already a debacle.
And at what is possibly the most dangerous time in recent American history — at precisely the moment when we should be rallying our allies to stand beside us and hold the line against threats — Donald Trump’s short-sighted “America First” dogmatism has come home to roost.
Our closest allies are calling for restraint and de-escalation — on both sides. Making a moral equivalence between us and Iran.
Russia and China are quietly reveling in the prospect that the United States may once more be bogged down in another major conflict in the Middle East. They would love nothing more than to be able to pursue their own interests, and carve out their own spheres of influence, without the United States challenging them on human rights, on abusive trade practices, or on meddling in other nations’ democracies — because we are too busy fighting Iran.
We are alone. And we alone will have to bear the costs of Donald Trump’s folly.
This is also the moment when we most feel the lack of a functioning national security process or any investment in diplomacy.
After three years of hollowing out the State Department; disrespecting and dismissing our intelligence community; destroying the relationship between the White House and Capitol Hill; throwing out the deliberate policy making process that has served Republican and Democratic administrations for decades; corroding the value of the word of the United States; abusing our allies; embracing dictators; creating, not solving, foreign policy crises on the international stage — we are in a much worse position to meet the demands of this crisis than we were when President Obama and I left office.
President Trump has no strategy here. No endgame. And here’s the hardest truth of all: His constant mistakes and poor decision making have left us with a severely limited slate of options for how to move forward — and most of the options are bad.
But there are some key steps that any responsible commander in chief would take. And, while I don’t expect Donald Trump will listen to me, I hope he listens to those around him who understand the gravity of the threats we now face.
He should take all necessary steps to protect our forces and ensure the security of our diplomats, civilians, and overseas facilities — not just in the Middle East, but anywhere that Iran might strike back.
He should ensure that federal authorities are working with states, local governments, and private institutions to guard against the heightened risk of cyber attacks.
He should stop tweeting so he doesn’t box us in with his threats, such that the only options left to us or Iran are increasingly damaging strikes and counterstrikes.
And he should immediately reach out to our European partners and others to send private signals of deterrence and de-escalation to Iran and find a way to avoid the onrush of war.
The best way to do that, of course, would be for President Trump, to rejoin the Iran Deal and build on it — if Iran also moves back into compliance with its obligations — and re-establish international consensus about how to confront the threats from Iran.
The only way out of this crisis is through diplomacy — clear-eyed, hard-nosed diplomacy grounded in strategy, that’s not about one-off decisions or one-upsmanship. Diplomacy that is designed to de-escalate the crisis, protect our people, and secure our regional interests — including our counter-ISIS campaign.
No one wants war. But it’s going to take hard work to make sure we don’t end up there by accident.
Finally, and this one’s not optional, Mr. President, you have to explain your decisions and your strategy to the American people.
That is your job as President — Not Dear Leader, not Supreme Leader.
Democracy runs on accountability. And nowhere is that more important than in the power to make war and bring peace. You are required to work with Congress. You are required to abide by the War Powers Resolution. You cannot pursue a war with Iran absent Congressional authority. The existing AUMFs — the Congressional Authorizations for the Use of Military Force — do not apply.
The American people do not want, and our Constitution will not abide, a president who rules by fiat and demands obedience.
I served in the executive branch of our government for eight years, but I served in the legislative branch for 36 prior to that, and I understand better than anyone that the system will not hold unless we find ways to work together to advance our national interests — not the political interests of one person or one party.
We need to restore the balance of powers between the branches of government.
We need checks and balances that actually serve to check and balance the worst impulses of our leaders — in any branch.
We need to use our system to bring us together as a nation — not abuse it to rip us apart.
That’s not a naïve or outdated way of thinking. That’s the genius and timelessness of our democratic system, which has, for more than 240 years, allowed us to remake ourselves, reckon with our shortcomings, and move ever forward.
That’s what we owe to those brave men and women who step forward to wear the uniform of these United States; who dedicate their lives to diplomatic service; who choose to join the Peace Corps or to work in development; who represent the best of our country all around the world — and who are, today, doing so at greater risk because of the actions of our president.
Thank you — and in these dangerous times — may God protect our troops.
At a fundraiser before his speech, he told the gathering:
“Did you ever think you’d see the time when we would be engaged in potential conflict and our NATO allies would be applying a moral equivalence between what we do and what the Iranians do? I never thought I see that day I spent my entire professional career dealing with NATO and dealing with foreign policy…Now the president says he did this to make us safer. Make Americans safer. Yet, we’re surging another roughly 18,000 forces in the region. And we find ourselves in position where there’s no evidence that they thought through how to protect our diplomats and our military personnel.”
Mr. Biden used the Iran situation to argue “the next president better be able to on day one, know how to begin to bring things together.”
Later in the day, at another fundraising event, news of an Iranian air strike on a US military base in Iraq started breaking. Without more details about the event, Biden said he would only speak briefly and generally about what happened:
“What’s happening in Iraq and Iran today was predictable – not exactly what’s happening but the chaos that’s ensuing,” he said, faulting Trump for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and the recent order of a missile strike killing a high ranking Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, according to the pool report by Julia Terruso of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Some of the things he’s done and said in the meantime have been close to ludicrous, including threatening to bomb holy sites…And I just pray to God as he goes through what’s happening, as we speak, that he’s listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case.”
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren has
released independent analysis supporting her plans for a Green New Deal
creating 10.6 million new green jobs. This is from the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren, campaigning for President, released a new independent analysis estimating that her plans for a Green New Deal will create 10.6 million new green jobs.
“America has a long and proud history of rising to the
challenges that have faced this country — and defeating the climate crisis is
no exception. A Warren administration will ensure that as we fight climate
change, each and every American benefits from the opportunities created by the
clean economy — especially the 10.6 million workers who will power our
transition to 100% clean energy.”
Elizabeth Warren’s plans for a Green New Deal will:
Develop the green workforce of the future by expanding job
training, partnering with unions to rebuild the middle class, and ensuring the
new clean economy is open to everyone
Rebuild and repower our energy grid to grow our economy,
invest in offshore wind, and achieve 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030
Transform our transportation sector by expanding green
public transportation programs and requiring all new light and medium-duty
vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles
Repair our water infrastructure by rebuilding America’s
dams, levees, and inland waterways and ensuring safe drinking water for all
Rebuild our homes, buildings and schools to achieve safe and
affordable housing and provide our children with healthy living and learning
Finance the green jobs program by creating a new Green Bank
and issuing Green Victory Bonds, modeled after the programs FDR implemented
during the New Deal
My Plan to Create 10.6 Million Green Jobs
Earlier this month, climate scientists published new research suggesting the planet is hurtling towards an ecological tipping point that would irreversibly damage the earth and threaten our livable climate — for good. This most recent study adds to the growing body of evidence that climate change is happening faster than scientists originally thought. And it further reinforces what we already know: we have roughly a decade left to avoid catastrophic impacts by ending our economic dependence on fossil fuels and substantially reducing global emissions.
But while climate change presents an urgent threat, it also presents the greatest opportunity of our time: the chance to rebuild our economy with 100% clean energy, to address the racial and economic inequality embedded in our fossil fuel economy, and to create millions of good, union jobs in the process. This is not the first time our country has faced a threat of this magnitude.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt said we would build a historic air force of 185,000 planes to defeat the Nazis, America had a nascent military aircraft industry. But FDR rallied the nation to the task: by the end of World War II, we had produced around 300,000 aircraft in less than 5 years.
When John F. Kennedy told the nation that we would send a man to the moon in under a decade, people said that would be impossible, too. But our top scientists and engineers came together and changed the world forever, delivering not just a lunar landing but also a torrent of new technology that helped working Americans here at home.
From World War II to the space race, American ingenuity has risen to meet seemingly impossible challenges — leading the world and unleashing economic benefits for Americans in the process.
Today we face a new challenge. Defeating the climate crisis will require the ingenuity of the moon landing and an economic and industrial mobilization unseen since our efforts in World War II. It will need to happen at the speed and scale of FDR’s New Deal, which launched over 50 federal programs and pulled millions of Americans out of unemployment. It will take workers of all kinds to rebuild and repower our energy grid and to upgrade our transportation, building, and water systems to guard against the worst effects of climate change and protect our most vulnerable communities. And it will take workers in every corner of America — from construction foremen in the Rust Belt to pipefitters in the Bayou — to transform our country’s infrastructure.
The Green New Deal is the answer to this national call.
After the 2008 crash, President Obama ushered through the historic American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to jumpstart our economy and bring an end to the Great Recession. Included in this total federal investment was $90 billion for clean energy, making it one of the largest investments in clean energy in U.S. history. The Council of Economic Advisors later reported that every $1 invested in clean energy leveraged an additional $1.60 in non-federal and private dollars.
Using this historical data and other estimates as a guide, my plans for a Green New Deal will result in an estimated total public and private investment of $10.7 trillion in our new clean energy economy. And independent experts that examined my ideas for a Green New Deal to analyze how they will drive job creation estimated that they will create 10.6 million new green jobs. This will help rebuild the middle class by providing family-supporting wages, career pathways, and worker protections in our new green economy. This is the opportunity of the Green New Deal: a $10.7 trillion total investment in our clean economy that spurs 10.6 million green new jobs. And we’ll do it all together — with no community and no worker left behind.
I mean it when I say that defeating the climate crisis will be a top priority of my administration. That’s why today I’m releasing my plan to enact a climate change agenda that not only reduces our carbon emissions but also jumpstarts our economy.
Developing the Green Workforce of the Future
There are already clean energy job opportunities across the country. But with $10.7 trillion in federal and private investments, we can turn these opportunities into 10.6 million new, union jobs rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and transitioning to the new clean energy economy. To support the millions of skilled and experienced contractors we will need to plan and execute large construction and engineering projects in the new clean economy and to support the first responders, healthcare workers, social workers, and other public and private employees who respond to climate-induced disasters, my administration will commit to investments in retraining, joint labor management apprenticeships, and creating strong career pipelines to ensure a continuous supply of skilled, available workers. And, we will look for every opportunity to partner with high schools and vocational schools to build pathways to the middle class for kids who opt not to go to college.
Expanding job training.
We currently invest $200 million annually in apprenticeship programs across the country. Successfully training and re-training millions of skilled laborers to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, however, will require scaling up dramatically. That’s why my plan to Defend and Create American Jobs calls for a tenfold increase in investments in apprenticeships — a $20 billion commitment over the next ten years. I’ll follow Governor Inslee’s lead by re-establishing dedicated programs for green industrial and construction job training and placement under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), too.
And investing in job training is only the first step. A Warren administration will link public investments in clean energy infrastructure to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training, as well as graduation rates and local hires, to ensure that we are creating a full training-to-career pipeline. My plans also call for expanded technical and trade school opportunities to create pathways into good jobs in the new clean energy economy that will not require a college degree. And my administration will create regional sector-specific training partnerships to help better align training with the local job market, leverage the community college system, and ensure that workers gain transferable skills.
Partnering with unions to rebuild the middle class.
I am committed to ensuring that all of the 10.6 million new jobs in the clean economy pull working Americans back into the middle class — and to working hand-in-hand with unions to do so. That’s why I will fight for good wages and strong benefits for every worker that joins the new clean economy. A Warren administration will condition federal clean energy investments to state, local, and tribal governments on employers offering family-supporting wages and benefits — and will enforce this through Project Labor Agreements, prevailing wage laws, and Community Benefit Agreements. And I will work hand-in-hand with unions to return power to the working people powering the green economy. Unions built the middle class and unions will rebuild the middle class in the green economy of the future, too.
I’ve already committed to making sweeping reforms to our labor policy. These changes will extend labor rights to all workers — for example, narrowing the definition of “supervisor” under the National Labor Relations Act to end the exclusion of workers like the construction foremen that will lead the charge on building our clean energy grids. They will guarantee workers entering this new economy have a voice in actually shaping it by strengthening organizing and collective bargaining rights and increasing worker choice and control, including by requiring large companies to allow workers to elect no less than 40% of board members. And I will work with unions to design the training and apprenticeship programs that can create strong career pipelines for workers to enter this new green economy, helping to expand opportunities — and a continuous supply of skilled workers to power this transformation.
Ensuring the new clean economy is open to everyone.
In addition to employing millions of new workers in the clean economy, I am committed to leaving no worker behind as we transition to an economy powered on clean energy. That includes honoring our commitments to fossil fuel workers by holding fossil fuel companies accountable and defending worker pensions, benefits, and securing retirements. I will make sure the opportunities created are available to those who have traditionally been excluded — especially women and communities of color — by imposing new rules on companies that hope to receive federal contracts.
Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure as part of the new clean energy economy will take all of us, including returning citizens — which is why my administration will partner with organizations that make renewable energy and associated job training available to underserved communities and formerly incarcerated individuals. And my plan to empower workers will expand worker safety protections for workers entering the green economy — like our transit workers who are increasingly subject to assault — and I will strengthen anti-discrimination protections for workers from all backgrounds.
Repowering our Energy Sector
In 2018, clean energy industries employed over 3.2 million Americans — more workers than in the petroleum, natural gas and coal industries combined. The clean energy industry is rapidly expanding — the two fastest-growing jobs in the nation are solar panel installer and wind turbine technician. But there is more to do, and the federal government can and should play a role in increasing the speed and scale of this transition. A Warren administration will focus on rebuilding and repowering our energy grid to grow our economy — and my plans will create 6.8 million good paying jobs in the energy sector, all while cutting carbon pollution.
100% Clean Energy Plan
While some states and utilities have been leading the way on cleaning up their electricity sources, far too many are falling behind. My plan calls for the federal government to set a bold standard for achieving 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, including carbon-free baseload solutions, putting us on the path to a 100% emissions-free electricity supply by 2035.
These ambitious targets will require us to ramp up renewable energy generation and deployment dramatically. Cleaning up our energy system will create a diverse range of jobs — from construction worker to electrician to project manager. But these good paying jobs won’t just be in renewable energy. They will also come from making homes, offices, and industries more energy efficient. And through my Green Manufacturing plan, we’ll jumpstart American research and manufacturing in areas like battery storage, which will require a whole new set of skills and laborers. And wherever possible, we’ll invest in modernizing our grid with American-made materials, spurring still more jobs right here at home.
Offshore Wind Jobs
Right now, there is only one offshore wind project operating in this country — Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm. It’s clear that today, we are failing to make use of the clean, powerful energy resource that lies just off our coasts. My Blue New Deal For Our Oceans plan will jumpstart the offshore wind industry. Bringing these offshore wind projects to life will generally require the help of workers from more than 70 different occupations — from machinists to engineers, sailors to ironworkers, electricians to longshoremen. By 2030, offshore wind energy development from Maryland to Maine could support more than 36,000 full time jobs. And even after they’re built, we will need workers to operate and service the turbines. My Blue New Deal also calls for electrifying and shoring up our ports, creating additional jobs throughout our coastal communities.
Restarting Our Transportation Sector
America’s transportation and trucking industry accounts for more than 10 million direct jobs, with over 3 million truck drivers alone. But right now, transportation also accounts for the largest portion of U.S. carbon pollution. Moreover, our public transportation infrastructure is crumbling: the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our roads a “D” grade on their most recent infrastructure report card, with one out of every five miles of highway pavement in poor condition.
For too long, our government has failed to invest in critical infrastructure — and unless we take action, poor conditions will continue to plague one of our most important industries. But this, too, is an opportunity: as we rebuild our crumbling transportation infrastructure, we can build in climate resiliency, and create a transportation system powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels. The massive project of investing in our transportation infrastructure will affect every state and county in the nation, creating about 2.6 million jobs in the public and private sector.
Build Green Program
Public transportation is a $71 billion industry that employs more than 430,000 people. And yet, 45% of Americans still do not have access to public transportation, leaving those without access reliant on car ownership to get to work, school and worship. We know that increasing public transportation rates and decreasing vehicle miles traveled is one of the best ways to reduce emissions. That’s why I’m proposing a new Build Green program, which would establish a new grant program to electrify public buses, school buses, rail, cars, and fleet vehicles that is modeled after the Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program. This program will be paid for by closing corporate loopholes, and will open up new funding opportunities for states, cities, counties and tribal governments to expand and electrify public transportation options. A study conducted in the Twin Cities found Black, Asian-American, and Latinx commuters have longer commutes than white commuters. And people with disabilities face particular barriers in using and accessing public transportation. These investments will be crucial to ensuring equitable and accessible transportation for all.
100% Clean Vehicles.
Demand for passenger electric vehicles is growing at home and abroad — but even though more and more people want electric vehicles, they still only account for around 1% of vehicles on the road. To spur auto manufacturing in this space, I have put forward a bold and ambitious goal to require all new light -and medium-duty vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero emission vehicles. We’ll achieve this goal by investing in a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. By the end of the first term of a Warren administration, there will be a charging station at every rest stop in America. And this nation-wide network of charging infrastructure will begin to lay the groundwork for electrifying long-haul trucking, too. But charging station infrastructure is only half the battle. Right now, consumers don’t have enough access to vehicles. In 2011, there were only two mass market electric vehicles available to consumers — and even now, the auto industry offers only fifteen models. While car manufacturers are already trying to meet growing demand, my investment in clean energy technology, including products designed for use in the electric vehicle supply chain, will further increase adoption of electric vehicles by making it easier for auto manufacturers to build the vehicles that consumers want.
We’ve let our failure to take action destroy our transportation infrastructure for too long and a Warren administration will make sure that the Department of Transportation acts with the speed and scale necessary to address the climate challenges ahead of us. I will take executive action to require the Department of Transportation set performance management rules that require federal transportation investments to be accompanied by life-cycle analysis and reduction strategies for climate and other transportation related pollution.
Renewing Our Water Infrastructure
America’s water infrastructure is crumbling. The government’s failure to invest is putting Americans in danger in two ways: first, our levees, dams and inland waterways infrastructure are all at risk — and will only become more stressed by climate change as sea-level rise, extreme flooding, and drought all become more frequent and severe. Second, our drinking water is increasingly at risk: as the infrastructure supporting it crumbles, an estimated 77 million Americans live with tap water that violates federal safe water standards — and this number does not even include the millions more served by very small water systems or private domestic wells. Meanwhile, more and more Americans struggle to afford their water bills as water bill costs have risen at more than double the rate of inflation over the last 20 years. Fixing our water infrastructure is an urgent priority — but we risk not having enough hands on deck, as the water sector’s aging workforce increasingly enters into retirement. Reinvesting in our nation’s water infrastructure isn’t just essential for the health and the safety of our communities, it’s also a chance to grow our workforce. In a Warren administration, we’ll not only protect Americans by rebuilding our nation’s water infrastructure — we’ll also create about 190,000 thousand good, union jobs in the process.
Rebuilding America’s dams, levees, and inland waterways.
Our nation’s dams, levees, and inland waterways provide necessary infrastructure for shipping and hydroelectric power — but they’ve been so underfunded that they are putting our communities at risk. When the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway failed in 2017, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated from rural Northern California. And the failure of New Orleans’ levees during Hurricane Katrina made Katrina one of the most devastating U.S. hurricane on record, killing 1,800 people, damaging 70% of homes in New Orleans, and resulting in damages of $125 billion. This stops now. A Warren administration will triple the US Army Corps of Engineers’ annual budget so that they have the resources they need to upgrade our water infrastructure and defend our vulnerable communities from harm. We’ll pay for this with savings from my plan to transition the military away from its dependence on fossil fuels and other internal Department of Defense funding shifts. This dramatic expansion will create new opportunities for good, federal jobs as we update critical infrastructure across the nation — an investment that is more important than ever to defend vulnerable front-line communities from more frequent and more severe weather events.
Ensuring safe drinking water for all
Nearly a decade ago the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing access to water and sanitation as basic human rights. But today, the United States is in the middle of a dangerous drinking water crisis. Not only do an estimated 77 million Americans’ have tap water that violated federal standards, but at least 2 million Americans still don’t have access to running water. And because of a long legacy of unfair, racist, and deliberate policy choices, communities of color are disproportionately likely to lack access to safe, affordable drinking water. After decades of declining federal investments in safe water, it’s time to invest in safe, affordable water for our communities. That’s why I have committed to fully capitalizing federal programs that fund drinking water capital infrastructure, such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. And I will go further by supporting Rep. Joe Kennedy’s Affordable Safe Drinking Water Act, which would extend the horizon for states and localities to repay revolving loans and expand the funding to cover the installation of lead and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) filtering systems and remediation measures. These important updates to the State Revolving Fund programs will not only guarantee much-needed upgrades to our drinking water infrastructure, but will also spur necessary investments to allow for expanded job opportunities. My administration will continue to invest in brownfield remediation, which is why I have proposed to reinstate and then triple the Superfund Tax to ensure that we protect our communities from the legacy of environmental harm and we put people to work in the process. And I will remain committed to standing with communities across the country that are impacted by lead.
Jobs in the water sector are wide ranging: there are more than 200 different occupations, including in skilled trades, administration, and finance. What’s more, because every community needs quality water, these jobs exist across the nation. I will work to create more inclusive career paths for water workers to meet the needs of our drinking water infrastructure by fighting for increases in the percent of local hires and minority/women-owned contracts that are awarded as part of water-related government contracting. And I will work with Congress to fully fund the EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants Program and the Environmental Health Sciences Environmental Career Worker Training Program, which is helping to improve workforce development for water-related careers. Lastly and in order to confront America’s drinking water crisis head on, I will take executive action to develop a national inter-agency safe and affordable drinking water roadmap. And to inform this effort I will convene a Water Equity Advisory Council with representation from key environmental justice and community-based organizations that are on the frontlines of addressing our safe water crisis.
Rebuilding our Homes, Buildings and Schools
In his Second Inaugural Address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the “test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Later that term, FDR signed into law the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act, which put Americans to work building new, modern affordable housing units across the country. But today, whether it’s a leaky window, an old appliance, or mold in a home, it’s hard-working Americans that pay the price through increased utility bills and housing costs.
As I’ve outlined in my 100% Clean Energy Plan, I’ll work with states and local governments to develop and implement new and stronger building codes to reach zero-carbon emissions and building those new standards into federal grant requirements, tax credits, and mortgage products. And I’ll launch an initiative to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, with the goal of upgrading 4% of buildings a year until the job is done. All told, my plans will create over 970,000 thousand new jobs as demand grows across sectors from the manufacturing of American-made energy efficient materials to large and small-scale construction efforts.
Safe and affordable housing
We currently have a government that has paid lip service to the idea of providing all Americans in need with safe and affordable housing. The federal government hasn’t funded new public housing construction in decades and has turned a blind eye to the massive maintenance backlog needed to make sure the limited housing we do have is safe to live in. That stops now. My Affordable Housing Plan would invest $500 billion over 10 years to address this crisis and would create 3 million new housing units. As a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, I recognize the right to safe, affordable housing for every American and the need for new, green jobs to realize FDR’s dream. My Green Public Housing program will build on the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, by raising living standards and providing the financial assistance necessary to retrofit these homes. This will require training a new American workforce and would alone create 240,000 new jobs. We can address the climate crisis while we tackle the housing crisis, too.
Providing our children with healthy learning and living environments
As a former public school teacher, I know firsthand how our children’s learning can be affected by their environment. More than half of our public schools need repairs in order to be in “good” condition. Our poor school infrastructure has serious effects on the health and academic outcomes of students and on the well-being of teachers and staff. That’s why in my K-12 plan I’ve committed at least an additional $50 billion to improving our school infrastructure. This will require a workforce across the country to identify the schools most in need and carry out the necessary upgrades to provide our children with the learning environment they deserve. There’s nothing more important to me than investing in our kids because it means we’re investing in our future.
Green infrastructure means inclusive infrastructure. We have to recognize that our building infrastructure crisis is an environmental justice crisis. The disparities in our building infrastructure reflect the racial inequities that exist in America today. Historically, redlining denied entire groups of people—primarily communities of color—the chance to live in neighborhoods of their choice while also making them the victims of environmental racism. Studies have shown that low-income and minority children bear the brunt of poisoning from lead-based paint and failing lead pipes in older housing units. Our system has also failed Americans with disabilities who occupy 41% of our public housing units and yet only 3% of those units are ADA accessible. These same inequities exist in our public schools, too. In New York City, for example, 83% of elementary schools in New York City are not fully accessible to students with disabilities.
This ends in a Warren administration. It’s the job of our government to reverse these injustices, and I will put Americans to work to finish the job. That’s why I will use the full force of the federal government to invest in addressing these disparities — and creating millions of good, union jobs in the process.Together, these plans will curb homelessness in America, put Americans to work in quality jobs, protect the health of American families, and ease the burden on their pocketbooks.
Financing the Green Jobs Plan
Defeating the climate crisis and transitioning our economy to run on 100% clean energy will take big, structural change. That’s why my plans will result in $10.7 trillion in federal funding to fight for a Green New Deal — backed up by detailed plans laying out exactly how we will use those dollars — to address the size of this crisis.
The transition to clean energy is an opportunity to transform our economy, creating new industries, like in zero-emissions building construction, and greatly expandingothers, like electric vehicle manufacturing, at a speed and scale not seen since World War II — and creating huge opportunities for state, local and non-federal investment in the process, too. My Administration will create new financing tools to unlock state, local, and private investment and direct it towards meaningful investments that tackle climate change, produce jobs, and reduce inequality. And my administration will put in place strong protections to ensure that this $10.7 trillion commitment flows to the right places, so that our climate investments benefit all Americans — not just the wealthy and well-connected.
A New Green Bank
A Green Bank is among the best ways to ensure a dedicated funding stream for an economy-wide climate transition to reconcile the scale of investment required with the speed of transition necessary to defeat the climate crisis. I’ll work with Congress to establish a bank modeled after and expanded upon the National Climate Bank Act, introduced earlier this year by my friend and colleague Senator Markey. We’ll put in place strong bipartisan oversight and governance to ensure that investments are equitable and benefit working Americans. And ultimately, this new Green Bank will mobilize $1 trillion in climate and green infrastructure investments across the country over 30 years.
The Green Bank will open up new markets for greater investment by working alongside existing federal authorities through direct spending, grants, and loans. It will provide security for investors looking for climate-friendly investments in mid- to large-scale infrastructure projects that serve the public interest but might not otherwise attract private capital due to risk-return thresholds, payback horizons, credit risk or other factors. It will increase the overall scale of clean energy investment and the pace of substitution of clean energy technologies for fossil-fuel based technologies, while also protecting consumers by keeping energy prices low and ensuring compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulations. And it will expand opportunities for communities and the private sector by directing funds toward communities on the front lines of the climate crisis that have traditionally been left out of investment opportunities.
Green Victory Bonds
Today many states have green bonds programs, using the proceeds to fund land use projects, river and habitat preservation, and energy and water infrastructure. Green bonds have also surged in popularity worldwide, with sales growing 46% last year to about a total of about $460 billion.
While the federal government has never issued a green bond, the World War II-era “Victory Bond” program was a major success, raising $185 billion — over $2 trillion in 2012 dollars — and four out of five American households bought Victory Bonds. I’ll propose a “Green Victory Bond,” backed by the full-faith and credit of the United States by the Treasury Department, to finance the transition to a green economy. These Green Victory Bonds will be sold at levels that allow Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum the opportunity to own a piece of the climate solution, and to benefit from the new green economy that we build together.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders released hisHousing for All” plan. This
is a summary from the Sanders campaign:
– U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled hisHousing for All plan, a bold proposal to guarantee every American – regardless of
income – a fundamental right to a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.
“There is virtually no place in America where
a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a decent two bedroom apartment. At a
time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, this is
unacceptable,” said Sen. Sanders. “For too long the federal government has
ignored the extraordinary housing crisis in our country. That will end when I
am president. My administration will be looking out for working families and
tenants, not the billionaires who control Wall Street.”
In America today, there is a shortage of 7.4
million affordable homes for the lowest-income renters and more than 18 million
families in America are paying more than half of their limited incomes on
housing and utilities. The federal government should be expanding housing programs,
but Donald Trump wants to cut them by $9.6 billion, or 18 percent.
for All plan would instead end the housing crisis, build millions of
affordable housing units, implement a national rent control standard,
revitalize public housing, protect tenants, combat gentrification, end
predatory lending and modern day redlining, and end homelessness by:
nearly 10 million homes through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
social housing, Community Land Trusts, and other housing programs.
funding tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance at $410 billion over the next
ten years and making it a mandatory funding program for all eligible
a national cap on annual rent increases at no more than 3 percent or 1.5 times
the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher, to help prevent the exploitation
of tenants at the hands of private landlords.
exclusionary and restrictive zoning ordinances and replacing them with zoning
that encourages racial, economic, and disability integration that makes housing
McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to more than $26 billion over the
next five years to build permanent supportive housing.
the mass sale of mortgages to Wall Street vulture funds and thoroughly
investigating and regulate the practices of large rental housing investors and
legislation to prevent abusive “contract for deed” transactions and using
existing authority to protect communities of color, which for too long have
been exploited by this practice.
Sanders’ proposal will be fully paid for by
establishing a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. It will cost
$2.5 trillion over the next decade.
The details of the Sanders housing plan can be read here.
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie
Sanders released hisimmigration plan, “A Welcoming
and Safe America for All.” This is a summary from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his immigration
plan, “A Welcoming and Safe America for All,” which would fundamentally
overhaul immigration into a humane, lawful process that protects families and
respects human rights. Sanders would reverse Trump’s executive actions, create
a swift and fair pathway to citizenship, decriminalize immigration and
demilitarize our border, protect and strengthen immigrant labor rights, support
immigrants in America, and enact fair trade deals and a humane foreign
“My father came to America as a refugee without a nickel in his pocket,
to escape widespread anti-Semitism and find a better life,” Sanders said. “As
the proud son of an immigrant, I know that my father’s story is the story of so
many Americans today. When I am in the White House we will stop the hatred
towards our immigrant brothers and sisters, end family separation, and locking
children up in cages. We will end the ICE raids that are terrorizing our
communities, and on my first day as president, I will use my executive power to
protect our immigrant communities and reverse every single horrific action
implemented by Trump.”
The plan, which is the most progressive immigration proposal put forth
in presidential history, was written in conjunction with several DACA
recipients and other immigrants on Bernie 2020 staff.
As President, Sanders will use his executive authority to
overturn all of President Trump’s actions to demonize and harm immigrants on
day one of his administration. Sanders will extend legal status to the 1.8
million young people currently eligible for the DACA program, and provide
administrative relief to their parents, those with Temporary Protected Status,
and parents of legal permanent residents. He will also use advance parole,
parole-in-place, and hardship waivers to remove barriers to legal status and
citizenship for as many undocumented immigrants as possible.
authority to reverse Trump’s harmful actions on immigration, including ensuring
asylum seekers can make their claims in the United States, ending family
detention and separation, reuniting families, reversing the Muslim ban and
halting construction on Trump’s racist border wall.
Place a moratorium on
deportations and end ICE raids.
Restore and expand
DACA and use advance parole, parole in place, and hardship waivers to remove
barriers to legal status and citizenship for as many undocumented immigrants as
Push Congress to enact
a fair, swift, and inclusive path to citizenship for the 11 million
undocumented living in the United States.
bloated, dysfunctional Department of Homeland Security, break up ICE and CBP
and return their core functions to their previous departments, and begin
treating immigration outside the context of national security.
demilitarize the border, ensure migrants due process, and fully fund and staff
independent immigration courts.
Strengthen and protect
immigrant labor rights, including for historically excluded and underregulated
occupations such as farmworkers and domestic workers, ensure employers are held
accountable for mistreating immigrant workers, and reform work visas.
trade deals, develop a humane foreign policy, and lead the world in addressing
climate change, including taking in those forced from their homes due to
Ensure immigrants in
the United States get the support and benefits they need, including healthcare
and education, and streamline immigration and naturalization.
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Mayor Pete
Buttigieg released his proposal to create a modern immigration system. This is a summary from the Pete for America campaign:
SOUTH BEND, IN — Mayor Pete Buttigieg released “I was a stranger and you welcomed me:
An Immigration Policy for A New Era,” a comprehensive
immigration policy that lays out Pete’s bold plan to create a modern
immigration system that fosters belonging, promotes our shared values, engages
with the global community, and ensure our nation remains competitive while
protecting all workers.
“On Day One of my administration, we will reverse this
president’s cruel and counterproductive immigration actions that separate
families, put children in cages and prevent them from having basic necessities
like toothpaste or soap, deport veterans, and sweep up workers in raids while
leaving exploitative employers unpunished,” said Buttigieg. “But we will do more than simply end these
outrages. We will reform a system that has been in dire need of reform for
decades and create an immigration system for a new era that reflects America’s
values of welcoming and belonging.”
A Buttigieg administration will work to ensure that our
nation is a beacon of hope for immigrants and refugees and will build a better
system that serves all of us. Pete’s plan will:
Pass legislation in his first 100 days that provides a
path to citizenship, including for people with temporary
protections—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected
Status (TPS), Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and withholding of removal.
While working on a necessary legislative fix, Pete will immediately restore and
extend temporary protections rescinded or threatened by the current
administration on day one.
Accelerate reunification of families. Pete will
reduce the backlog of family-based visas and increase the number of visas
issued for family reunification each year. He also will fight for reforms to
re-classify spouses and children of permanent residents as immediate relatives,
eliminate discriminatory annual per-country caps, end down-grading of family
preferences (through aging out or getting married), and recognize same-sex
partners from countries lacking marriage equality.
End the Muslim Ban on Day One. Pete will immediately
end this ban, which should be anathema to our values as Americans.
Reduce barriers to health care and education by
eliminating the five-year waiting period for green card holders gaining access
to public health insurance and food assistance programs; expanding on Obamacare
to allow all immigrants to access health coverage on the marketplaces, and
expanding access to Pell grants for students with DACA.
Protect undocumented workers from retaliation when
reporting labor violations. Pete will support the Agricultural Worker
Program Act, which protects farmworker rights such as labor, pesticide
protection, and food safety laws. Pete also supports the Domestic Workers’ Bill
Provide opportunities for people who want to build our
economy where they are needed most. Pete will create a local Community
Renewal (CR) visa targeted toward counties that have lost prime-working-age
population over the last 10 years, and smaller cities that are struggling to
keep pace economically with larger cities.
Create a National Office of New Americans to promote and
support immigrant and refugee integration and inclusion. This office will
be in the Executive Office of the President and will coordinate integration
efforts across federal, state, and local governments.
Keep naturalization affordable. The Trump
administration is proposing to hike the naturalization application fee by 83%
to $1,170 —that’s more than an average family pays for rent each month in 43
states. Pete’s administration will keep naturalization affordable and ensure
that fee waivers are available to those unable to pay. As we do for those who
serve in the military. Pete will not require a fee from national service
Put border facilities under the purview of HHS rather
than CBP. Byshifting responsibility for processing centers to the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we ensure proper care of asylum
Fully restore and increase aid to Central America.
The Trump administration suspended nearly $450 million in aid to El Salvador,
Honduras, and Guatemala in retaliation for failing to stop migrants from
leaving for the United States, a short-sighted response that has only
exacerbated the dire conditions that cause people fleeing in the first place. A
Buttigieg administration will restore funding to additional programs proven
effective in improving the rule of law, functioning judicial systems,
education, regional safety, economic stability, and combating corruption.
Modernize our employment-based visa system. We have
not meaningfully updated our visa caps in over 30 years. Rather than reset our
visa allotments one time based on current data, which will quickly become
outdated as our economy continues to change, Pete will create a flexible review
system where the allotment for employment-based visas will be set every other
year based on our economy’s needs. This process will make our immigration
system more adaptable, evidence-based, and competitive.
Our democracy is stronger when people living here have a voice in our society.
Read Mayor Pete’s comprehensive plan for An Immigration Policy for A New Era HERE.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Mayor Pete Buttigieg released hisplan for equitable public education, starting with universal child care and pre-K, through K-12. This is a summary from the Pete for America campaign:
SOUTH BEND, IN — Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his plan to ensure every child has access to quality, affordable education that will provide them the opportunity to succeed. Pete’s plan will build an equitable K-12 public education system, provide universal child care and pre-K, and make sure America’s teachers not only reflect the diversity of our country, but are paid fairly for the critical work they do.
By tripling funding for Title I schools and teachers, Pete’s
plan will narrow opportunity gaps between districts in high-income and
low-income areas. It will also double the proportion of new teachers and school
leaders who are people of color in the next 10 years. His plan will eliminate
the wage gap for Title I teachers and create over 1 million new, good-paying
child development jobs.
“Too often, access to education is predicted by income or
zip code. And success can be determined before a child even sets foot in a
classroom,” said Buttigieg. “Every child in America should have access to high
quality education, and we need to support our nation’s teachers for the work
they do within and outside the classroom. If we honored our teachers a little
more like soldiers and paid them a little more like doctors, this country would
be a better place.”
To ensure that every child has access to a quality education
and support our nation’s teaching workforce, Pete’s plan
Provide affordable, universal full-day child care and
pre-K for all children, from infancy to age 5, serving more than 20 million
children, with a landmark $700 billion investment.
Triple funding for Title I schools to invest in a
truly equitable public education system, no matter a child’s zip code, race, or
Establish the Education Access Corps to prepare and
retain future educators to teach in Title I schools.
Ban for-profit charter schools and ensure equal
accountability for public charter schools.
Support strong unions for educators and staff and raise
wages for early childhood educators.
Reinstate Obama-era guidance to address discipline
disparities in early education as well as K-12, and invest in successful
district-level solutions that reduce the use of exclusionary discipline that
targets Black and Latino students.
Expand mental health services in schools for students
Give every child access to after-school programs and
summer learning opportunities.
Read Pete’s full plan to ensure that America upholds its
promise to students and teachers HERE.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a detailed plan to protect and empower renters as part of the fight to end the affordable housing crisis. This is from the Warren campaign:
A full-time, minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation. Gentrification is displacing communities of color, rising rents are crushing millions of families, and landlords are exploiting their power over tenants.
Elizabeth’s Housing Plan for America will invest $500 billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab more than three million housing units that will be affordable to working families. Her plan will lower rents by 10% nationwide, reform land-use rules that restrict affordable housing construction and further racial segregation, and take a critical first step towards closing the racial wealth gap.
Today, she released an additional plan to expand on those efforts to protect and empower renters. Her plan will:
Everyone in America should have a decent, affordable, and safe place to live.
But today, stagnant wages, sky-rocketing rents, and a stark shortage of affordable options
are putting the squeeze on America’s 43 million renting households.
In 2015, 38% of renters were “rent burdened” — spending
over 30% of their income in rent. In 2017, 23 million low-income renters paid more than half
of their total household income on housing. Many renters also face high energy
bills, with low-income renters paying as much as 21% of their income because of energy inefficient housing. A
full-time, minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation. Gentrification is displacing communities of
color, rising rents are crushing millions of families, and landlords are
exploiting their power over tenants.
But for decades, the federal government has turned a blind eye to our growing
affordable housing crisis. When the government has made investments, it’s focused largely on homeownership. From
Nixon’s moratorium on new public housing construction to
Reagan’s severe cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
rental assistance program to today’s corporate capture of the right to shelter, Washington has
failed America’s renters. To make matters worse, every singleTrumpadministrationbudget has slashed funding for HUD’s budget.
And shamelessly, some of the same Wall Street firms that tanked the dream of
homeownership for millions of American families are now the country’s biggest landlords — profiting off the destruction they
caused. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, private equity firms like Blackstone
went on a shopping spree, snatching up apartment complexes and single-family homes that had been foreclosed. Even the
United Nations Special Rapporteurs have reported on their aggressive eviction tactics,
the discriminatory impact of their policies on communities of color, and
their lobbying efforts against legislation that would protect
renters — and accused them of contributing to the global housing crisis.
My Housing Plan for America invests $500
billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab more than three
million units that will be affordable to lower-income families. My plan will
lower rents by 10%, reform land-use rules that restrict affordable housing
construction and further racial segregation, and take a critical first step
towards closing the racial wealth gap.
Today, I’m expanding on those efforts with my plan to protect and empower
renters. It has four goals:
and uphold the rights of tenants
the growing cost of rent
in safe, healthy, and green public housing
exploitation by corporate landlords
Protect and uphold the rights of tenants
We’ll start by strengthening the rights of tenants. Over 805,000 renter households were threatened with
eviction in 2017. When landlords evict tenants, families lose their homes,
parents may lose their jobs, kids suffer in schools, and whole communities,
especially communities of color, can be displaced by gentrification and
skyrocketing rents. In many communities, landlords dramatically hike rents after evicting tenants, driving housing
costs up for everyone.
Tenants that organize to take on bad landlords are up against a massive power
imbalance. I’ll fight to put power back where it belongs: with tenants, not big
Landlords shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily push families out of their
communities to make an extra buck or because of thinly-veiled racism and
discrimination. I’ll work to secure tenants’ rights nationwide
— including by creating a federal just cause eviction standard, a right to
lease renewal, protections against constructive eviction, and tenants’ right to
organize. To enforce these rights, I’ll condition the $500 billion in new affordable housing funding to states from
my housing plan on states affirmatively adopting these key tenant protections.
Judges in eviction proceedings would also be required to consider how an
eviction might harm a tenant’s health conditions or a child’s ability to stay
enrolled in local public schools, and to temporarily stay evictions if tenants
can’t find another home in the same neighborhood.
As President, I’ll also fight for a nationwide right-to-counsel for
In 2010, 90% of tenants in eviction proceedings weren’t
represented by lawyers, but 90% of landlords were. That legal help matters. Legal
representation can significantly increase success in for tenants in their cases,
keep eviction filings off their records, and prevent them from having to enter
homeless shelters. That’s why I’ll fight to create a national housing
right-to-counsel fund which would provide grants to cities to guarantee
access to counsel for low- and middle-income tenants who are facing eviction or
taking their landlord to court for violations like breaching their lease, shutting
off their heat and water, or violating the housing code. And I’ll fight
to create a new tenants’ cause of action that allows tenants to sue landlords
who threaten or begin an illegal eviction.
I’ll also push to create a new Tenant Protection Bureau within the
Department of Housing and Urban Development — modeled after the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — to enforce tenants’ rights, take on bad
actors, and make sure landlords keep affordable housing affordable for working
families. Before the financial crash, I came up with the idea for a
consumer financial protection agency— a new federal agency dedicated to
protecting American consumers. I fought for that agency, helped build it from
scratch, and now the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion directly to consumers scammed by
Tenants deserve a cop on the beat too. My new Tenant Protection Bureau, housed
within HUD, would enforce these federal tenant protections, like just-cause
eviction, for tenants in all federally-funded affordable housing developments,
ensure safe and decent living conditions, and guarantee that landlords don’t illegally
raise rents or fees in federally-subsidized housing. The Tenant Protection
Bureau will also empower community organizers with grants to state and local
groups who will sue for violations of tenant protections.
Tenants face similar dynamics to borrowers facing unscrupulous banks or
servicers. I’ll create a tenant hotline modeled after the CFPB consumer
complaint database that will route complaints from tenants to their
landlords through HUD, which could review the data for enforcement opportunities
and share the data with local officials and organizations to help them enforce
I’ll strengthen fair housing law and enforcement, giving HUD the tools to
take on modern-day redlining. A 2017 study in Virginia found that
Black tenants were more likely to be evicted, even accounting for
different income levels. Research has also shown that low-income women in Black
and Latinx neighborhoods face a heightened risk of eviction. Fifty years after the
passage of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), housing segregation endures, gentrification is pushing communities of color out of
the neighborhoods they built, people with disabilities face pervasive
discrimination, and nearly a quarter of transgender people report
experiencing housing discrimination.
We need to renew our fight against housing discrimination, and I’ll start on
day one. I’ll restore the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which
the Trump Administration put on ice. The AFFH rule would
fulfill the FHA’s promise to end housing segregation by requiring local
governments to identify housing policies and practices with racist effects and
undo them. I’ll also roll back the Trump administration’s effort to add work requirements to housing assistance. And I’ll withdraw
Trump’s racist proposed “mixed status” rule which, according to HUD’s own analysis,
would effectively evict tens of thousands of families and 55,000 children based on the immigration status
of household family members.
But reversing the Trump Administration’s attacks on civil rights isn’t enough.
The FHA protects against discrimination based on race, color, national origin,
religion, sex, familial status, and disability. To start, I’ll make sure that
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, which has been gutted and undercut by the Trump administration, is fully
funded, staffed, and equipped to robustly enforce the FHA — which is
particularly critical for renters with disabilities who make up the majority of discrimination complaints.
My affordable housing bill would prohibit housing discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status,
and source of income, like a housing voucher. Under a Warren Administration,
HUD will issue regulations to the greatest extent it can under the Fair Housing
Act to end housing discrimination against domestic violence survivors, LGBTQ+
people, and based on tenants’ immigration status or criminal records. I’ll
fight for the Equality Act, which would explicitly ban anti-LGBTQ+
discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations.
I’ll also direct HUD to take on chronic nuisance ordinances — local laws
that push domestic violence survivors, especially Black women, and people with disabilities, out of their homes.
And I support immigration reform that’s consistent with our values, including a
pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — which would make them
eligible for public housing benefits.
I’ll also create a national small dollar grant program to help make sure
families aren’t evicted because of financial emergencies. I spent my
career studying why families go broke — so I know that it’s all too easy for a
family to fall behind on rent after a surprise trip to the emergency room or
car repair. Massachusetts pioneered several programs that provide small grants
to help families facing a one-time budget crunch, like the Homestart program, which provides grants of on
average $700 and some wraparound services to help families avoid
eviction. It’s been reported that 95% of their eviction prevention program recipients remain in
their homes four years later. I’ll fight to scale this program up nationwide,
likely saving federal, state, and local governments money by helping families
stay out of emergency homeless shelters.
While nobody should be homeless in America, we need to stop treating our
neighbors who are experiencing homelessness as criminals. All across the
country, cities and states make it illegal to live on the street, even when
there are fewer emergency shelter beds than people who need them — 34% of cities have city-wide bans on camping in public, 43% of cities prohibit sleeping in vehicles, and 9% of cities even prohibit sharing food with homeless people.
Even as the affordable housing crisis deepens, pushing more people out of
affordable housing, these laws are spreading — just this month the Las Vegas City Council voted to
criminalize camping on downtown streets. Enough is enough — it’s time to stop
criminalizing poverty. My Department of Justice will not fund efforts to
criminalize homelessness and will deny grant money to police departments who
are arresting residents for living outside.
I’ve also already committed to preventing and combating the epidemic of
LGBTQ+ youth, transgender, and veterans homelessness. My LGBTQ+ rights plan commits to reauthorizing and fully
funding the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and to creating a LGBTQ+ youth
homelessness prevention program within the U.S. Interagency Council on
Homelessness. And I will restore and strengthen the HUD Equal Access Rule, reversing Ben Carson’s horrific proposal to
allow shelters to discriminate against transgender women – so if a trans women
of color loses her home, she doesn’t face widespread discrimination from
homeless shelters. My plan to support our veterans calls to fully fund rapid re-housing and
permanent supporting housing through the Supportive Services for Veteran
Families (SSVF) and HUD-VASH programs and to create a new competitive grant
program to provide wrap-around services for veterans and their families. As we
fight to end homelessness and expand affordable housing, we won’t leave any
Tackling the growing cost of rent.
My Housing Plan for America tackles the
growing cost of rent at its root: a severe lack of affordable housing supply
and state and local land-use rules that needlessly drive up housing costs. My
plan would add more than 3 million new affordable housing units,
and I’ll commit to prioritizing a portion of these units to particularly
vulnerable groups like the chronically homeless, people living with HIV, people
with disabilities, seniors who want to age in place, and people who have been
incarcerated and are returning to the community. My plan will bring
down the rents by 10% nationwide and make targeted investments in
rural housing programs and in a new Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund to
support the construction of new housing for middle-class renters in communities
with severe housing supply shortages. My plan also invests $2.5 billion in the
Indian Housing Block Grant and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to build
or rehabilitate 200,000 homes on tribal land.
We’ll also incentivize the elimination of costly zoning rules — like minimum
lot sizes or parking requirements — with a $10 billion new competitive grant
program that state and local government can use to build infrastructure, parks,
roads, or schools on the condition that they reform land-use rules to allow for
the construction of additional well-located affordable housing units and to
protect tenants from rent spikes and eviction. And in doing all of this, my
plan would create 1.5 million new jobs.
But we must do more. More than 30 states have laws on the books that explicitly
prohibit cities from adopting rent control — and when tenants and
communities fight to repeal those laws, they’re met with fierce opposition from
real estate and private equity giants that have shelled out massive amounts of money to block them.
States shouldn’t be able to suppress local innovation or stop towns and cities
from adopting the housing policies that best protect their residents. That’s
why my administration will work to stop states from preempting local tenant
protection laws, including rent control. A Warren Administration will
side with people over private equity. I’ll condition the new affordable housing
money from my Housing plan that goes to states on repealing state laws that
prohibit local rent control laws and other tenant protections.
States and local governments across the country have adopted a number of
different strategies to tackle rising rent costs. This year, Oregon and California became the first states to pass
statewide rental control measures. From Maryland to Colorado, communities across the country have been
testing out the community land trust model, to try to break the link between
the cost of the land and the private, speculative market. As President,
I’ll create an Innovation Lab in HUD to study strategies that keep rents
affordable such as rent control, multi-year leases, zoning reform, and
community land trusts, and share data on what works and best practices. I’ll
also bring together a commission of federal, state, and local government
officials, public housing administrators, housing justice organizations,
homelessness advocates, and tenants’ unions to discuss affordability and
strategies to address it.
I’ll direct HUD to recognize strategies that prevent gentrification and
displacement of long time communities as ways for meeting jurisdictions’
obligations under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. I’ll also
restore and improve the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule, which the Trump
administration has tried to block. SAFMR sets the housing voucher
amounts at the zip code level rather than the metro level and promotes
integration by allowing vouchers to cover more in neighborhoods with higher
rental costs. I’ll also direct HUD to ensure that the shift does not reduce the
number of total housing units available to voucher holders, invest additional
resources and technical assistance to increase understanding of this rule among
public housing authorities (PHAs) and tenants, issue additional guidance on
setting payment standards, and make the administrative plans by PHAs of the
implementation of this rule publicly available.
Invest in safe, healthy, and green public housing.
Today, about 2 million people nationwide live in 1.1 million public housing units — and too
many are living in homes with lead, rats and roaches, and black
mold that jeopardize their health. Tenants who receive HUD rental assistance
are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions or go to an
emergency room than other similarly situated renters. Children in these
households are more likely to have asthma and face an acute risk of lead poisoning.
Public housing is also failing in meeting the needs of Section 8 eligible
renters who have disabilities. About 41% of all public housing units are home to a disabled person,
but only about 3% of those units actually have accessibility features.
The federal government’s decision to scale back or not match inflation when
funding public housing has resulted in a national public housing capital repair
backlog of $70 billion, leading to inaccessible housing for people with
disabilities and substandard living conditions. Because units have
been demolished or removed due to uninhabitable conditions, the total number of
public housing units has fallen by more than 250,000 since the mid-1990s. And with a median
public housing waiting list of 9 months, and in some cases, as long as 8 years, we can’t afford to lose a single unit.
As climate change makes summer heat waves and winter cold snaps more severe and
disasters more frequent, the number of habitable units could fall even further,
and public housing across the country is at risk. Last winter, nearly 90% of New York City Housing Authority units lost heat because
of boiler system breakdowns. Some of those same residents dealt with extreme heat in the summer, which can be particularly
dangerous to the elderly and residents with disabilities. In Charleston, South
Carolina, which is facing rising sea levels, 7 of the PHA’s properties are only a few feet above the high
tide level, and across the country, nearly half a million HUD-assisted housing units are in flood
We must invest in safe, healthy, and green homes. I’ll start by
repealing the Faircloth Amendment, which has prohibited
the use of federal funds for the construction or operation of new public
housing units with Capital or Operating Funds, effectively capping the number
of public housing units available at 1999 levels. I’ll fight to
completely close the national public housing capital repair backlog,
expand disability accessibility, and for 1:1 replacement of any units that have
to be removed or demolished. And I’ll fight for investments in new public
I’ll also update the rules of major federal housing funding programs, like
the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund,
Capital Magnet Fund, and Home Grant program, to allow PHAs or other public
institutions to use these funds to develop properties and Section 811 PRA
housing themselves and maintain public ownership. Under current rules, states
are required to contract with private developers. With this change, PHAs and
other public institutions will also be able to benefit from the massive
investment of my Housing plan. Like existing developments under these programs,
these projects would be subsidized to allow low-income tenants to live
alongside market rate tenants. And I’ll encourage PHAs to develop a
participatory budgeting process with residents on how capital dollars are
I believe that every renter has the right to a healthy home. I have
called for retrofitting 4% of our existing building stock each year in my
100% Clean Energy for America plan. I will
ensure that public housing units and public schools are prioritized for
retrofitting because more efficient homes mean lower energy bills, and the cost
of energy should not hold any family back. And I will work across federal
agencies to eliminate toxic substances like mold and lead from all
housing and drinking water sources by investing in toxic mold removal,
establishing a lead abatement grant program to remediate lead in all federal
buildings, and providing a Lead Safety Tax Credit to incentivize landlords to
invest in remediation for their tenants. I’ll fully fund CDC’s environmental
health programs like the Childhood Lead Prevention program, and fully
capitalize the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State
Revolving Fund to ensure that nobody’s drinking water is poisoned because of
crumbling infrastructure. And I will immediately roll back the amended timeline
of the EPA draft rule on lead pipe replacement, which the Trump administration
has tried to relax from 13 to 33 years.
For all new affordable rental units, I will ensure that the project
undergoes an environmental equity screen during both the siting and
construction phases so that we do not continue to subject low-income
communities to environmental racism through our housing policies. I will direct
the Department of Energy to provide technical assistance to utilities to better
support and incentivize on-bill financing to further adoption of clean energy,
no matter the income, credit, or renter status of each customer.
And as we modernize our public housing units, we will build livable communities
starting with a new Green Public Housing program that will create
millions of jobs and provide climate smart housing. Because of the massive
maintenance backlog in America’s public housing, and because the federal
government hasn’t funded new public housing construction in decades, manypublic housingbuildings aren’t equipped to withstand the
increasingly harsh realities of climate change. I am a proud supporter of the
Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which will create grant programs for
public housing authorities to conduct deep energy retrofits, prioritize
workforce development, upgrade the facilities’ energy efficiency and water
quality, allow for community renewable energy generation, and encourage
recycling, community resiliency, and climate adaptation. My 100% Clean Energy
for America plan calls for all new commercial and residential buildings to have
zero carbon pollution by 2028, and this applies to any new public housing
development as well. Nobody should have to face substandard living conditions,
and through the Green Public Housing program, we will ensure that we raise the
standard of living for all renters.
And I will make sure we’re supporting those who have been displaced by
disaster. Renters are particularly vulnerable in the wake of natural disasters. But
for too long, renters have been overlooked in government post-disaster response
and recovery. That’s why I introduced the Housing Survivors of Major Disaster Act, which will require
FEMA to work with HUD to immediately set up the Disaster Housing Assistance
Program (DHAP) for temporary rental assistance and wraparound services to
disaster survivors. This will also support those who might not have residence
documentation, to ensure renters without leasing documents and people who are
homeless have access to these critical services.
Fight the exploitation of renters by corporate landlords.
Since the mortgage crisis, large private equity firms have become some of the
country’s biggest landlords — a big win for Wall Street, but a huge
loss for America’s renters. Take Blackstone, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Since
2016, more than 600 complaints have been filed against Blackstone
subsidiary Invitation Homes with the Better Business Bureau, and Invitation
Homes is currently facing a class action lawsuit in California for
subjecting tenants to excessive and illegal late fees.
The problems extend to other private equity landlords too. Colony Capital, the
third-largest single family landlord in the country, evicted more than 30% of tenants living in its Atlanta
rentals. In Memphis, Firstkey Homes, a property management company owned by
Cerberus Capital Management, files for eviction at twice the rate of other property managers.
We can’t keep letting these firms loot the economy to pad their own pockets
while working families suffer. My plan to Rein in Wall Street will hold private equity firms
accountable and prevent private equity funds from snatching up properties and
dramatically raising rents, allowing more people to stay in their homes..
My Excessive Lobbying Tax will make it more costly for these firms
to lobby against policies that protect renters.
But we can do more. I’ll stop federal dollars from going to predatory
landlords and lenders with a long history of harassing tenants, forcing tenants
to live in dangerous or indecent conditions, or redlining our communities. I’ve
already committed to strict new requirements for Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac, limiting the situations in which the agencies can sell
mortgages and imposing new requirements on Wall Street buyers to protect
I’ll also direct the Federal Housing Administration to deny
federal support to landlords that violate tenants’ rights. My FHA will
develop rules that prohibit federal agencies from insuring, guaranteeing, or
lending to landlords with a history of harassing tenants, violating housing
codes, unjust evictions, violating fair housing law, or engaging in
unconscionable rent increases. That means no federal support for landlords that
violate tenants’ rights — like Jared Kushner’s family firm, which is under investigation for harassing tenants out of
I’ll go further and allow all suits for violations of the Fair Housing Act
and Federal, state or local housing protections to reach to the private equity
firm and its general partners. After the housing crisis, private
equity firms gobbled up hundreds of thousands of Real Estate
Owned (REO) properties and troubled mortgages from FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
In the years since, private equity firms have expanded their portfolios in
housing and have taken a particularly aggressive position in the market
for manufactured home parks. In the midst of the financial crisis, private equity firms
exploited legal loopholes and used shell companies to ensure tenants were
unable to get justice when they’re wronged and removing all disincentive for
My housing plan would end the pipeline of foreclosed homes from Federal
agencies to private equity firms, and My Wall Street plan allowed extended
liability for actions at a private equity portfolio company to the private
equity firm and its general partners in the case of a government enforcement
I’ll rein in payday lenders who take advantage of renters. Payday
lenders cluster in low-income areas, like around government-subsidized housing, and target communities of color. I’ve called out the unscrupulous, exploitative practices
for more than a decade. As President, I’ll direct the CFPB to issue a
comprehensive package of regulations on payday lenders, including limiting the
proximity of payday lenders near public housing. I’ll call for Congress to
repeal the Dodd-Frank provision that prohibits the CFPB from capping interest
rates, empowering the CFPB to effectively regulate these bad actors.
And I’ll take on “land contracts” agreements, predatory loans that are
frequently targeted at communities of color. Land contracts are high-interest loans that are often marketed as a path to
homeownership. Tenant-buyers make payments towards a lender over a long period
of time, and the lenders that own the homes are only required to turn over
legal title to the home after the renter has completely paid it off. But homes
— often houses lost in the foreclosure crisis — can be in such bad
condition they’re basically uninhabitable, and the contracts shift the costs of
fixing them up away from banks and onto unsuspecting families.
Worse still, these contracts are built to fail: If tenants fall behind on these unregulated,
high-interest loans, predatory lenders can seize the property — and keep would-be buyers’ money
— so they make it hard for families to keep up with payments by inflating
the prices, disguising debts, and hiding unfair terms in the fine print of
their land contracts. Predatory lenders target communities of color for land
contracts, including the same families displaced by rising rents. I’ll choose a
CFPB Director committed to reigning in land contracts.
Next, I’ll require large corporate landlords to publicly disclose data. I’ll
create a national public database of information about large corporate
landlords, by requiring them to report key data to HUD. The database will
include information like corporate landlords’ median rent, the number and
percentage of tenants they evicted, building code violations, the most recent
standard lease agreement used, and the identity of any individuals with an
ownership interest of 25% or more, either directly or indirectly, in large
landlords’ corporations, LLCs, or similar legal entities. And I’ll direct HUD
to study the impact that these kinds of landlords have on local rental markets.
The vigorous contest of Democrats
seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy
proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders, along with
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, presented the Green New Deal for Public
Housing Act to address the shortage of public housing in a way that also
attacks climate change by transitioning to sustainable buildings. Here is the
plan from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in an event outside the Capitol Building, announced the
introduction of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act in partnership with
public housing residents, affordable housing advocates, and climate change
activists. The sweeping legislation they will unveil aims to retrofit,
rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act invests up to $180 billion over ten
years in sustainable retrofits that include all needed repairs, vastly improved
health, safety and comfort, and eliminate carbon emissions in our federal
public housing. The legislation also provides funding to electrify all
buildings, add solar panels, and secure renewable energy sources for all public
housing energy needs. The bill dramatically improves living conditions for
nearly 2 million people living in roughly 1 million public homes.
“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,” said Sanders. “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. This bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable
housing crises by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability
and resiliency. Importantly, the working people who have been most impacted by
decades of disinvestment in public housing will be empowered to lead this
effort and share in the economic prosperity that it generates for our country.”
“Climate change represents both a grave threat and a tremendous opportunity,”
said Ocasio-Cortez. “The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will train and
mobilize the workforce to decarbonize the public housing stock and improve the
quality of life for all residents. I am proud to begin the hard work of
codifying the Green New Deal into law with my friend and colleague, Senator
About 40 percent of
total U.S. energy consumption is attributable to residential and commercial
buildings. With its focus on transforming 1 million units of federally owned
housing, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will spur economies of scale
for weatherization, retrofitting, and renewable energy, making them more cost
effective and attractive throughout the country. The legislation is expected to
create nearly 250,000 good-paying, union jobs per
year across the country while reducing carbon emissions on the scale of taking
1.2 million cars off the road over the next ten years. Public housing costs
would also be reduced by $97 million per year, or 30 percent, and energy costs
would be slashed by $613 million, or 70 percent.
The legislation envisions a federal-state partnership, creating new grant
programs to swiftly and efficiently transition public housing, tribal housing,
and Native Hawaiian housing to zero-carbon, energy efficient housing. The bill
creates sustainable communities for families by building new childcare and
senior centers, expanding access to clean transit, and creating community
gardens and other community amenities. Under the legislation, public housing
will receive deep energy retrofits, build community-generated renewable
electricity, and upgrade unsafe and unsanitary infrastructure, including
buildings’ water and electrical systems.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act requires that the hundreds of
thousands of jobs created by this investment be high-road, family-sustaining
jobs by requiring strong labor standards, prevailing wages, and “Buy America”
requirements. Public housing residents will lead the decision-making process for
these investments and receive jobs training for the newly created jobs from
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen.
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by more than 50 organizations.