THE NYCHA IS NOT FOR SALE COALITION CALLS ON THE WHITE HOUSE TO SUPPORT H.R. 235, A BILL TO FULLY-FUND PUBLIC HOUSING, EVEN IF IT MEANS CUTTING AT LEAST SOME OF THE U.S. MILITARY BUDGET AND/OR ENDING THE FILIBUSTER.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT : Edwin DeJesus, firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 804-7087
NEW YORK, NY (July 4) — The NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition declares that it is time for U.S. citizens to declare independence from the U.S. military-industrial complex and the filibuster that currently prevent the U.S. Congress from passing progressive legislation, like H.R.235/S.598/S.679, which would provide emergency funding for the backlog capital repairs to the Nation’s public housing stock.
To support our demands, NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition members today staged a direct-action protest to focus public attention on the need to fund the backlog of capital repairs to public housing.
VIDEO 1 : Banner Drop [Twitter]
VIDEO 2 : Drone Attack [Twitter]
At the protest today, public housing activists participated in a banner drop and in renouncing the glorification of U.S. Military spending at the cost of funding habitable housing for NYCHA residents, who include U.S. veterans, civil servants, retirees, public school children, and many others.
On 18 April 2021, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) promised to support amending H.R.235 so that it would provide $80 billion to fund the backlog of capital repairs to public housing, of which approx. $40 billion would be earmarked for the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA. Furthermore, NYCHA residents were promised that H.R.235 would be put into the Infrastructure Bill being shaped by President Joseph Biden (D) and would provide job opportunities to public housing residents.
- LINK : https://www.audacy.com/wcbs880/news/local/schumer-wants-usd80b-for-public-housing-in-infrastructure-plan
But H.R.235 was not included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was negotiated with G.O.P. Senators.
- LINK : https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-support-for-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-framework/
There is an urgency to funding public housing, because neoliberals, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City), seek to sell-out public housing with schemes, like the Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD ; Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT ; infill development ; the sale of air rights ; and/or the Blueprint — plans that seek to permanently end Section 9 public housing by disposing of public housing assets.
Cut the U.S. Military budget or end the filibuster
NOW, THEREFORE, in order to fully-fund the long-overdue capital repairs to NYCHA, the NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition hereby demands that the White House must communicate that : (a). the House pass H.R.235 as a stand-alone bill — just like it has done with a large surface transporation bill (H.R.3684) that is infrastructure-related, and (b). the Senate pass the companion bill with funding set at $80 billion, as promised by Senate Majority Leader Schumer. Fully-f unding public housing is possible under two frameworks :
- FRAMEWORK #1. President Biden must ask the U.S. Congress to fund the backlog of capital repairs in the Nation’s public housing stock by cutting the cost from the bloated U.S. Military budget. For too long, the Federal Government has never questioned U.S. Military spending (https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/raytheon-gets-2-billion-us-air-force-contract-long-range-weapon-2021-07-01/), and that has always come at the cost of making long, overdue investments in infrastructure, including to public housing. Furthermore, if the U.S. Congress must take up passage of H.R.235/S.598/S.679 solely by budget reconciliation, then the funds for public housing can come from making budget realocations from the U.S. Military. The NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition stands with our allies in jointly demanding an end to the endless wars. We seek to stop Washington from arming, funding, bombing, and deploying troops and drones in wars and armed conflict around the world. We must create the long, overdue peace dividend that can be invested in domestic programs, beginning with ending the era of the racist divestment of public housing. Indeed, the Government expanded NYCHA to provide housing to veterans returning from World War II (https://www.nytimes.com/1946/06/02/archives/study-shows-families-of-veterans-occupy-a-large-part-of-the-public.html?searchResultPosition=2). Our Nation owes veterans, their families, and all public housing residents safe, sanitary, and habitable public housing. We must collectively seek to promote peace around the World, and this means we must end the use of all foreign aid that presently supports the commission of war crimes and human rights violations. A peacetime economy can support a new commitment to racial, legal, and social justice.
- FRAMEWORK #2. If President Biden cannot support cutting $80 billion from the U.S. Military budget, then President Biden must forgo elusive bipartisan support. Bipartisanship was never going to be possible with Republic Party obstructionism that relies on using the filibuster to block passage of progressive legislation. Many have called the filibuster a vestige of slavery and of Jim Crow laws that have for too long permitted a powerful minority to distort the democratic functions of Government. President Biden must abandon GOP compromise that is premised on avoiding the filibuster by pressuring the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster completely. Republicans could not block passage of H.R.235/S.598/S.679 and other progressive legislation, including voting rights protections, without relying on the filibuster. The time to do away with the filibuster is now. Once the filibuster has been eliminated, then the Democrats in the U.S. Senate can pass S.598/S.679 (the companion bills to H.R.235), so that the U.S. House can vote to pass H.R.235. Majority Leader Schumer’s promise to NYCHA residents would end the era of the racist divestment of public housing, and we need to do everything possible to help him keep his word.
NYCHA faces an emergency. For years, Mayor de Blasio has promoted several schemes to end Section 9 public housing or to privatise public housing. We don’t need to end the New Deal promise of public housing, because we have options to fund the backlog of capital repairs by either cutting from the U.S. Military Budget or ending the filibuster. The time to act is now.