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Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez reveal Green New Deal plan for public housing

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Nov. 14 (UPI) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced a $180 billion plan to retrofit and repair public housing as part of the Green New Deal, including solar panels.

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would cut the carbon footprint of the country’s public housing stock while saving money and enriching lives for the residents, the two lawmakers said. The candidates have made the Green New Deal a priority of their campaigns and see it as a way for the United States to lead in fighting climate change.

“The bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable housing crisis by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability and resiliency,” Sanders said. “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.”

The bill also includes plans for organic grocery stores, on-site child care and community gardens.

“I think it’s very exemplary of what we try to do with the Green New Deal, where we have a front-line community that has historically gotten the short end of the stick with environmental justice,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post.

She said addressing climate change will create up to 240,723 jobs in renewable energy while helping improve lives.

They will officially announce the bill Thursday afternoon along with public housing residents and activists for affordable housing and climate change.

In April, New York City passed a sweeping climate plan similar to the national Green New Deal that would require New York‘s largest residential and commercial buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2040 and 80 percent by 2050.

The Green New Deal introduced at the start of the year sets an even more ambitious goal to get the U.S. electric grid running 100 percent on green energy by 2030.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., endorsed the bill. Warren is a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential race along with Sanders.

Republicans attacked the bill as unworkable and expensive. Conservative think tanks have put the total cost of the Green New Deal at more than $1.6 trillion.

“They want to take away your car, reduce the value of your home and put millions of Americans out of work,” Trump said at a rally after the deal was announced earlier this year.

Labor unions also raised concerns about moving away from fossil fuels saying it would disrupt the economy and take away jobs.

“It is difficult to take this unrealistic manifesto seriously, but the economic and social devastation it would cause if it moves forward is serious and real,” Laborers’ International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan said.

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