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Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., indicated on Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden owed Black and Brown people after they helped elect him.
His comments came during a rally outside the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., where speakers like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., pushed for a Green New Deal.
"Joe Biden has pledged a $2 trillion investment in environmental justice and 40% of that has been pledged to districts like mine across the country," Bowman said.
Biden pledged $2 trillion for climate investments. It includes a provision for "disadvantaged communities" to receive 40% of "overall benefits of spending" in various areas.
"That 40% has to be part of a 'Green New Deal' that rebuilds Black and Brown communities across this country … we need jobs, we need infrastructure, and we need those jobs to go to Black and Brown communities," said Bowman. "Black and Brown communities organized across the country to make sure Joe Biden won the White House, and he did that, but now it's time for payback. And now it's time to make sure that we invest the resources necessary to rebuild our nation in a way that is representative of all of us, so we can truly have the people's house."
Bowman is considered one of the newest additions to the "Squad" of 2018 freshman congresswomen — Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. – who have challenged the party's establishment for the past two years.
Thursday's rally signaled a continuation of that challenge, even as some Democrats cautioned more progressive policies could prompt political losses.
Also at the rally, Omar fired back at Democratic colleagues who suggested she and other squad members had weakened the party by dragging it too far to the left.
"As soon as the election was over … we have seen the pundits and some of the leaders within the Democratic Party, or even some of our colleagues, who are freshmen, talk about us getting back to basics — saying you know, the squad — Alex[andria Ocasio-Cortez], Ilhan, Rashida [Tlaib], all of you have to stop talking about everything you talk about, because we need to get back to basics," Omar said, apparently referring to Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va.
Spanberger yelled during a caucus call after the elections, Fox News confirmed. She told her colleagues: “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”
"So, I was confused," Omar continued, "because I thought what is more basic than fighting for clean water? What is more basic than fighting for a breathable planet? What is more basic than trying to make sure we get health care for people?" she asked.
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