The New New Deal?

W.When we won a majority in the Senate earlier this year, the American people entrusted us with a huge responsibility: to make their lives better, ”said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer when he launched the Democratic Group’s $ 3.5 trillion budget . The Republicans were appalled at the prospect. “This is one of the most radical proposals in our nation’s history,” said Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio angrily, while the details of the plan were being worked out. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders says it will be “the most consistent bill for working people, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s”. The activists who have worked on the critical issues that the Democrats say will be covered in the legislation are excited, nervous and determined to influence the budget draft process and the debates that will ensue from it this fall. Here are some of their opinions on initiatives that are likely to be included in the plan.

John Nichols

“This is a once in a generation opportunity,” says Dawn Hückelbridge, the director of Paid Vacation for All. “We’re one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have paid vacation, and this is the year that can change.” Decades of organizing has framed the demands, and she says, “The pandemic has accelerated everything under the Taken magnifying glass. There was always a great deal of support. The pandemic made a sense of urgency. ”Sanders says paid vacation will be an important part of the budget. What is needed? Huckelbridge is pushing for “12 weeks vacation that is available to all working people and is comprehensive” – ​​with an inclusive family description and sufficient wage compensation so that time off is possible and possible for all working Americans.

Climate Corps

“Imagine a world where millions of people, both high school and middle-aged, could work on projects that protect communities from sea level rise, care for the elderly, distribute fresh produce in food deserts, restore wetlands, and then rebuild climate disasters while getting a living wage, ”says Nikayla Jefferson, an activist in the Sunrise movement. “This is the world we march for.” The Sunrise movement endorses the roughly $ 132 billion five-year plan to employ 1.5 million Americans proposed by Senator Ed Markey and MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like the New Deal’s Civilian Conservative Corps, the Climate Corps would provide jobs for transformation work. It’s an important step in what the Sunrise Movement wants Congress to do to save the planet.

The nursing agenda

A decade ago Ai-jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, helped found Caring Across Generations, a bold movement to address the country’s crumbling care infrastructure. With strong union support, she and her allies got President Joe Biden to endorse a $ 400 billion plan to invest in care, with a particular focus on expanding Medicaid and providing fair wages and benefits to caregivers – 86 Percent of them are women, the majority of who are black women. Now she’s working to make sure the funding is included in the Congress budget. “It’s a game changer,” she says. “Discuss a way to raise wages for women and women of color with high leverage. It’s so direct. ”

Medicare extension

“83 percent of all likely voters support the expansion of Medicare to include vision, hearing and dental care,” says Alex Lawson, the executive director of Social Security Works, the convening organization of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition. Sanders says such an expansion will be a core part of the budget. “As part of this struggle, we recognize that steps towards an improved Medicare-for-All system must be fought for whenever we have an opening,” says Lawson. “We currently have the opportunity to cover millions more with a Medicare system that is being expanded to include vision, hearing and dental services. Care system. “

Taxing corporations and the rich

Amy Hanauer, the managing director of the Institute for Taxes and Economic Policy, sees the budget as a “long overdue” opportunity for fairer taxation. Biden and the Senate Democrats have highlighted the need for a plan to reverse the Trump administration’s giveaways to corporations and the billionaire class. If the pandemic has taught us anything, says Hanauer, “it is the costs that inequality has caused for this country and how it undermines our ability to function as a democracy.” Noting that polls show overwhelming support for business and the rich to pay their fair share, she says, “Fairer tax policies are a great way to fight inequality and get the money we need to meet human needs to satisfy.”

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