While the right keeps falling in line between President Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policy and beyond, progressive figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) continue to unveil a bold — inclusive — new vision for the future. At a town hall event this week in the Bronx, she asserted that housing should be “legislated as a human right” to keep basic provisions along these lines from concentrating among the wealthy while lower income people are left struggling.
As she put it:
‘We have to make sure that housing is being legislated as a human right. What does that mean? What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.’
She related a story from her own life to depict the divide between “rich” and “poor” living conditions that doesn’t have to be there, at least when it comes to providing for tangible basic human needs like cleanliness and security. She toured an affordable housing development produced in Queens by a nonprofit organization and found that the inside of one the units “looks just my apartment” in the “luxury building” in D.C. that she’s moved into that features clean air, clean water, and the like.
As she noted, some twenty percent of asthma cases stem from home environment issues, meaning that there’s a significant amount of work to be done to bring housing provisions across the United States up to the level that she’s talking about.
As she put it:
‘What it means is that we all have a right to dignified housing, good heat, responsible structures, low noise, clean air and clean water that’s at an affordable price.’
She was speaking at an event in favor of a current package of nine bills in favor of New York tenants’ rights that are being debated by the New York state legislature. Those bills include a wide variety of provisions, from what’s been termed “universal rent control” to a prohibition against landlords evicting tenants without “good cause.” The developments come as national policy moves the opposite direction under the Trump team, which is seeking to bar families from subsidized housing if even a single member is an undocumented immigrant.
Ocasio-Cortez has prominently advocated for changes in environmental policy before with her so-called Green New Deal, which has been introduced as a resolution in both the House and Senate but passed by neither chamber. That plan covers the same kind of environmental justice that the Congresswoman was discussing this week in the Bronx. It calls, besides for the achievement of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the United States within ten years, for the United States government “to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come — clean air and water,” among other things.
Besides this policy field, she has recently attracted attention for getting a couple of Republicans to publicly agree to supporting a proposal to ban members of Congress from becoming paid lobbyists after they leave office. Those to sign on via Twitter for all the world to see include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Chip Roy, who’s also a Texas Republican.
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