The introduction of the legislation, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, is the first of multiple proposals from progressive lawmakers as they seek to influence a $2.3 trillion infrastructure overhaul to address climate change and economic inequities.
Their proposal comes as Mr. Biden and his allies are navigating congressional crosscurrents that include the larger policy demands of a Democratic caucus that has little room for disagreement and Republicans who say they want to compromise, but have largely panned a plan paid for by tax increases. While the president has outlined the broad contours of his proposal, it is up to lawmakers to reach agreement on the final provisions and details of the legislation.
Some lawmakers are floating the prospect of downsizing Mr. Biden’s legislative plan to win the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate, amid a flurry of lobbying from rank-and-file members. Progressive Democrats like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Sanders are instead doubling down on their call for a larger package than the president proposed and pushing to shape what could be one of the largest investments of federal dollars in a generation.
The progressives’ legislation, billed as the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, is a prong of the broader climate platform that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and others have long championed to help the United States wean itself from fossil fuels. It would repeal limitations on the construction of public housing and create grant programs to ensure improvements that not only address unsafe and aging housing, but reduce carbon emissions.