THE BRONX – Vice President Kamala Harris was in the Bronx on Friday to advocate for billions of dollars in infrastructure spending and social programs.
She urged her fellow officials to strike a deal, telling the crowd it was an opportunity for transformational change in the wake of the pandemic.
Harris talked about a new YMCA. The community center is part of the change the Biden administration says it hopes to bring to communities. This brand new facility is a de facto senior center, fitness center, pool, and community meeting space for an entire neighborhood in the Northeast Bronx.
Harris argues that it’s the type of building and the programs he supports that should be in more communities.
Describing trillions of dollars in physical infrastructure and social spending combined, Harris said, “It’s about doing better for the climate. It is about better health. These are better jobs, and intentionally, these are our families.
Harris’ main message was to members of his own party.
Moderates like Senator Joe Manchin want to reduce the scope of the plan. Progressives, including Bronx Reps Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, want more.
“New York, change is possible,” said Harris. “Change is possible if we make it happen. Members of the United States Congress in their hands, at their fingertips, have the opportunity to raise our families and our children. “
However, the negotiations remain controversial. Moderates continue to exclude progressive priorities from the proposal. In response, Ocasio-Cortez, who was at the Harris event, said she was unwilling to give up on a deal.
“For me personally, getting away is related to the weather,” she said. “I don’t know and I cannot in good conscience vote for a package that worsens climate pollution.”
However, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was also present at the event and presents himself as a pragmatic progressive, said walking away without a deal wouldn’t work well for New Yorkers.
“I say as a person who has to run the city on a day-to-day basis, we need money for infrastructure or the city will fall behind compared to the rest of the country. We will not be the city we need to be, ”said de Blasio.
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