April 30, 2021 | News | No Comments
Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York responded to President Joe Biden’s address Wednesday night with a rousing call for transformational change, arguing that the path the president charted during his speech and first 100 days in office is not sufficiently bold to tackle the immediate and long-term emergencies of climate change, soaring wealth inequality, and racial injustice.
“The crises we’re facing go well beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bowman said in an address delivered on behalf of the Working Families Party. “While the richest billionaires got one trillion dollars richer during the pandemic, more than ten million families are behind on rent today, and there are eight million fewer jobs than a year ago. The climate crisis continues to ravage our communities, and scientists tell us we’re running out of time to act.”
“Republicans have made themselves clear. They tried to steal the election, incited an insurrection, and they believe Derek Chauvin is innocent of murdering George Floyd. Now, they’re standing in the way of Congress trying to deliver relief to working people.”
—Rep. Jamaal Bowman
“Every week,” Bowman continued, “we see an unconscionable new video of police violence against Black and brown men, women, and even children.”
While applauding Biden’s recent infrastructure, green jobs, and safety-net proposals as “important steps,” Bowman argued the president’s plans “don’t go as big as we’d truly need in order to solve the crises of jobs, climate and care. We need to think bigger.”
Echoing Biden, the New York Democrat urged Congress to pass a $15 federal minimum wage and the PRO Act, a sweeping labor law reform bill that would make it easier for workers to join unions. But unlike the president, Bowman said that “if we need to get rid of the filibuster to do that, that’s absolutely what we need to do.”
The Democratic congressman went on to call for approval of a Green New Deal for cities, public schools, and public housing, sweeping proposals introduced in recent weeks that Biden has yet to endorse.
“We can create those new, green jobs, and we must make the jobs people already have better. That’s what the Thrive Act is all about, which would create 15 million green union jobs,” said Bowman, referring to a progressive proposal that would invest $10 trillion in infrastructure and green energy over the next decade—a far cry from Biden’s call for roughly $2.3 trillion in spending over the next eight years.
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“We need to seize this moment,” said Bowman. “Republicans have made themselves clear. They tried to steal the election, incited an insurrection, and they believe Derek Chauvin is innocent of murdering George Floyd. Now, they’re standing in the way of Congress trying to deliver relief to working people.”
“So it’s on us, as Democrats and progressives, to meet the gravity of the moment,” Bowman added. “And history will judge our actions.”
Watch the full speech:
Below are Bowman’s full remarks as prepared for delivery: