Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders host town halls, pushing $3.5 trillion budget blueprint

New York, New York/Lafayette, Indiana – On Friday evening, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders held two separate town halls discussing the importance of the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint recently passed in both legislative chambers.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a news conference in Washington DC on July 20, 2021.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a news conference in Washington DC on July 20, 2021.  © IMAGO / UPI Photo

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders emphasized the importance of the $3.5 trillion budget bill for Americans, immigrants, and refugees alike.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, the budget reconciliation is "our chance to enact immigration reform," while Sanders added that it could help create a path to universal Pre-K; expand Medicare to include vision, dental, and hearing; and ensure that no family in America spends more than 7% of their income on childcare.

For low-income families, childcare would be free.

Trump launches furious attack on Fox News and "dog" who sits on board of directors
Donald Trump Trump launches furious attack on Fox News and "dog" who sits on board of directors

Sen. Sanders made it glaringly clear that there would be tax hikes in order to pay for the $3.5 trillion bill, but ensured that only those who make $400,000 a year or more will have their taxes raised – not the working or middle class.

While speaking to a crowd in West Lafayette, Indiana, Sanders spoke on the make-up of modern-day families, saying, "The world has changed. Mom is working, Dad is working, and it's imperative we make sure young people get the best care."

For Sanders, this not only means providing universal Pre-K to three and four-year-olds, but also to give families, especially those in the working class, with three weeks of paid family and medical leave.

Sanders and AOC speak on affordable housing

Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters outside the West Wing in Washington DC on July 12, 2021.
Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters outside the West Wing in Washington DC on July 12, 2021.  © IMAGO / UPI Photo

Additionally, both Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez spoke on the dire need for affordable housing.

According to Sanders, the $3.5 – trillion budget bill, if passed, could include the largest investment in low-income and affordable housing in US history.

Under current conditions, 18 million households across the US spend over 50% of their income on housing, he said.

Trump-backed candidate set to oust House Freedom Caucus chair in tight Virginia primary
Politicians Trump-backed candidate set to oust House Freedom Caucus chair in tight Virginia primary

Both Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders shared their utter distaste for the lack of affordable housing in the US, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez noted that the US Supreme Court had blocked President Biden's extension of eviction moratoriums, something she said happened due to members of Congress being disinterested in simply casting a vote on the matter.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, there are 800,000 New Yorkers who currently qualify for emergency rental assistance, yet only 160,000 of them have applied for it. At a time like this, the representative said, "It's extremely important that people are able to get the assistance that they need."

AOC gives her opinion on Congress' infrastructure dispute

A US Airman assists Afghan refugees board an Air Force aircraft during an evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 24, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A US Airman assists Afghan refugees board an Air Force aircraft during an evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 24, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Despite getting the initial green light from the US House of Representatives, progressives Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders are still facing off with their Republican and moderate colleagues over the $1.2-trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

In her town hall, Ocasio-Cortez mentioned there were ten "conservative Democrats" who wanted to hold several progressive-backed budget bills "hostage" in order to have the bipartisan infrastructure bill prioritized.

This is problematic due to the fact that both sides had struck a deal that the bipartisan infrastructure package had to be paired with a more "visionary" bill, such as the proposed $3.5-trillion, progressive-backed budget reconciliation bill.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, if the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed alone, it could be extremely harmful not only to Americans, but also to the environment.

The New York representative reiterated that she would not vote for the infrastructure bill if the $3.5-trillion budget bill was not presented beside it.

On the topic of Afghanistan, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez called the safe removal of refugees an "unprecedented humanitarian mission" and double-downed on her demand that President Biden increase the annual refugee cap to a minimum of 200,000 refugees this year.

"This isn't a left or right issue, this isn't just an immigrant advocacy issue," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Cover photo: IMAGO / UPI Photo

More on US politics: