THE BRONX — Vice President Kamala Harris was in the Bronx Friday making the case for trillions of dollars in infrastructure and social program spending.
She urged her fellow public servants to get a deal done, telling the crowd that this was an opportunity for transformational change coming out of the pandemic.
Harris spoke from a new YMCA. The community center represents some of the change the Biden Administration says it is hoping to bring to communities. This brand new facility is the de facto senior center, fitness center, swimming pool and community meeting space for an entire neighborhood in the Northeast Bronx.
Harris is making the case this is the type of building and the programs it supports that should be in more communities.
Outlining trillions in combined hard infrastructure and social spending, Harris said: “It’s about doing better on climate. It’s about better health. It’s about better jobs, and intentionally, it’s about our families.”
Harris’s main message was directed at members of her own party.
Moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin want to narrow the scope of the plan. Progressives, including Bronx Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, want more.
“New York, change is possible,” Harris said. “Change is possible if we make it happen. The members of the United States Congress in their hands, within reach, have an opportunity to lift up our families and our children.”
However the negotiations remain contentious. Moderates continue to squeeze progressive priorities out of the proposal. In response, Ocasio-Cortez, who was at the Harris event, said she is not unwilling to walk away from a deal.
“For me personally, walking away is on climate,” she said. “I do not know and cannot in good conscience vote for package that makes climate pollution worse.”
However, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was also at the event and styles himself as a pragmatic progressive, said walking away without a deal would not work out well for New Yorkers.
“I am saying as someone who needs to run the city day-to-day, we need we need infrastructure money or the city will fall behind the rest of the country. We won’t be the city we need to be,” de Blasio said.