WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is cosponsoring the Economic Justice Act, a major legislative proposal that provides more than $435 billion in immediate and long-term investments in communities of color to address systemic racism and reverse decades of historic underinvestment.
Through eleven key initiatives, the Economic Justice Act aims to immediately help communities of color respond to the pandemic by investing over $135 billion in underfunded critical priorities, including child care, mental health and primary care, growth of minority-owned businesses, and job creation. This legislation also seeks to build long lasting wealth and health in these communities over the next five years by investing over $300 billion for infrastructure, a homeowner down payment tax credit, Medicaid expansion, and more.
“We have a real opportunity before us to rebuild our economy in a way that includes all Americans. The best way to address systemic racial injustice is to make forward-looking and long-term investments in communities that have too often been left behind,” said Heinrich. “Among other important measures, the Economic Justice Act would represent a huge step forward in ensuring that Tribal communities have the same ability as the rest of the country to access broadband internet for education, business, and health care services. We must build back our economy from this crisis in a way that brings everyone along and create a more fair and just society than the one we had before.”
Additionally, the bill makes key policy changes to better target federal assistance to high-poverty communities and to implement local hiring provisions to ensure more federal infrastructure spending translates into job opportunities for disadvantaged workers and underrepresented populations. The Economic Justice Act is not the conclusion of efforts in this space, but an initial down payment for communities of color and the first in many focused investments and policy initiatives to begin dismantling systematic racism.
The legislation also includes increased infrastructure investment, robust labor standards and policies to improve pay, benefits and worker power, and a new $15 billion Community Justice Initiative to begin to right the wrongs of past federal policy that displaced, physically isolated, and stripped wealth from communities of color.
Some key endorsements of the Economic Justice Act include the National Urban League, Conference of National Black Churches, NWLC, National Black Worker Center, PolicyLink, US Hispanic Chamber, CDFI Coalition, UnidosUs and Prosperity Now. A comprehensive list of endorsements can be found here.