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A new agenda aimed at pushing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden further to the left has been unveiled by a group of progressives which includes several members of Congress.
Democratic members of the House, including the progressives known as the “Squad,” are supporting a program unveiled Thursday that’s backed by leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups. The Working Families Party’s “People’s Charter” proposes a new vision for America and sets the stage for the goals under a Biden administration if the Democrat wins the election.
Progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are part of the group of eight House members who have indicated their support of the platform which calls for free public health care, reallocating police funds, a $15 minimum wage, canceling student debt, and retroactive hazard pay for essential workers.
While Biden has already come out in support of some of the policies put forth in the proposal, such as a ban on evictions and foreclosures amid the coronavirus pandemic and free COVID-19 testing, he has previously indicated he opposes some of the other items in the progressive agenda such as universal health care and defunding the police.
Organizing people around the promise of something better – that’s how we’ll win.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 8, 2020
But the new charter is essentially a roadmap for pressuring the Democratic nominee into a move further to the left, providing a blueprint for progressives in the House and their agenda in a Biden-Harris Administration, according to Rep. Ro Khanna, one of the backers of the new plan.
“The aim is a clear agenda that progressives in the House will advance focuses on these big items,” the California Democrat told Fox News.
“We will push for Medicare-for-all during the pandemic. We will push for the creation of millions of good jobs in communities left behind. And we will advance a bold vision to tackle climate change and have a liveable planet, which is the aspiration of the Green New Deal,” Khanna added. “I expect at least 80 to 100 House Democrats will support the basic principles and agenda.”
Elected officials, candidates and progressive organizations have already signed onto the charter which points to three events that have “rocked our country,” citing the coronavirus pandemic, an “economic collapse” and a “reckoning with the history of systemic racism” against the black community.
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) October 9, 2020
“The Working Families Party is the party for the multiracial working class, fighting for a nation that cares for all of us,” the proposal states.
“We endorsed Elizabeth Warren and then we endorsed Bernie Sanders, so it’s not surprising that our party and our base have some policy differences with Joe Biden,” Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party, said.
“People, in order to be enthusiastic about voting, need to vote for something — and the People’s Charter provides folks with something that is outside of candidates’ politics to vote for. It also sets up conditions postelection to articulate that this election was a referendum on this agenda,” he added.
The plan was unveiled days after the vice presidential debate during which Sen. Kamala Harris appeared to move away from some of her previous progressive priorities such as the Green New Deal, which she once co-sponsored. The California Democrat also came under fire by the left when she flip-flopped on her position about fracking.
Ocasio-Cortez didn’t seem to appreciate Kamala Harris’ apparent reversal on fracking https://t.co/KJctRTe8mA
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) October 8, 2020
“We’ve always said that electing Joe Biden was a doorway, not a destination,” Mitchell said in a statement, according to Fox News. “The People’s Charter is that destination: a nation that cares for all of us, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or how much money is in our pockets.
“We’re going to beat Donald Trump on Nov. 3, and then we’re going to organize to make the vision outlined in the People’s Charter a reality,” he added.
Mitchell told Fox News that the agenda is “really good policy,” and it is “what people actually want.”
“Just electing Joe Biden won’t make any of this happen … The destination is this work and that requires us to advocate and organize. We’re going to be pushing on Democrats. We’re going to be challenging, both Democrats and Republicans and independents to do the work of the people,” Mitchell said.
The Sunrise Movement, a climate activist group, The Movement for Black Lives, the Service Employees International Union, MoveOn, United We Dream and other progressive groups have also signed on to the plan.