Politics | House Progressives’ Infrastructure Priorities List Includes Bolstering Immigration, Housing, Medicaid


A group of nearly 100 House progressives compiled a list of infrastructure priorities that included a pathway to citizenship, affordable housing investments and Medicaid funding.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced its objectives in an internal memo obtained by Politico on Friday. The five priorities, which were compiled by surveying the caucus’ 95 members, represent major progressive demands that aren’t closely related to infrastructure.

“We agree that it’s time for transformative change and we look forward to working with the Biden Administration to expand on their proposal and ensure that the American Jobs Plan goes big to truly meet the needs of the public,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the caucus, told Politico in a statement.

The full list of priorities calls on Congress to strengthen the “care economy,” investing $450 billion in Medicaid, making access to child care universal and establishing permanent paid family leave. It also demands “bold investments” in affordable housing including $70 billion for public housing repairs and $26 billion for housing homeless people.

The caucus’ list also says Congress should mandate lower prescription drug prices, capping them at the average cost in comparable Western nations and expanding the number of drugs that are eligible for negotiation, according to Politico. The CPC list included a series of climate change proposals like creating a climate jobs program and establishing a national clean energy standard.

The CPC’s final infrastructure priority is that immigrant essential workers, who have temporary protected status or are Dreamers, are granted a pathway to citizenship, according to the memo obtained by Politico.

President Joe Biden announced his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which included a series of provisions tangentially related to infrastructure last week. The White House said the plan will create millions of “good jobs” and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Mark Pocan, Raul Grijalva, Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar are prominent members of the CPC.

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Sheryl Hamlin

“A key element of Biden’s $213 billion proposal is offering cities federal dollars to encourage them to ease zoning rules that drive up housing costs, impede the construction of affordable homes and often prevent people of color from moving in. But housing advocates and economists say Biden’s decision to rely solely on financial incentives without including more punitive actions to force changes could dampen the plan’s effect on one of the major drivers of the affordable housing crisis in the U.S., particularly in the largest metro areas.”  Politico  4/12/2021

How about converting old malls into housing? The shameful demolition of the Parker Center in LA for example could have been 500 units. This is not about housing, but retribution. And, the powerful construction industry loves demolition for obvious reasons.