Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed select committee for a Green New Deal includes public bank funding

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, photo courtesy Politico


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — one of two insurgent progressive candidates to succeed in their races for Congress — submitted draft text for a select committee on a Green New Deal financed by a system of national and regional public banks and the Federal Reserve. The plan calls for a sweeping mobilization to make the US carbon neutral and draw down greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and oceans.

The inclusion of public banking is an important indicator that awareness of its value has reached the federal level, in good measure due to local advocates who have been pressing the case to Ocasio-Cortez and her team. The draft language proposes “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and ... other vehicles” for funding. 

The idea of creating a special new climate panel was immediately met with strong opposition from powerful veteran lawmakers, but has since drawn support from 15 other Representatives and the attention of mainstream media. The proposed select committee for a Green New Deal would tackle much more than climate change. Noting that far-reaching change is needed, Naomi Klein writes in The Intercept:

“By giving the committee a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing and construction, as well as health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee, and the urgent imperative to battle racial and gender injustice, the Green New Deal plan would be mapping precisely that kind of far-reaching change. This is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out.”  

Pie in the sky? Not if funded through the Federal Reserve and a network of public banks, which make this plan a realistic possibility. 

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Public Bank East Bay meets with state legislator to introduce bill in CA

California coastline

Photo by Matthew Hamilton


The California Public Banking Alliance is working toward a state bill that will remove legal barriers to starting municipal public banks in the state. To that end, Public Bank East Bay recently met with Rob Bonta who represents the East Bay’s 18th Assembly District. He has agreed to co-author or perhaps even author the bill.

The CPBA is reaching out to more legislators to gain additional authors and support for a bill to be introduced in 2019. More to come as this story develops.


California Public Banking Alliance sees its momentum continuing

Pacific Ocean, California

Photo by Austin Neill


Although LA's Measure B did not pass, the effort generated massive awareness and support in a few brief months. The California Public Banking Alliance is now using that momentum in their work toward statewide legislation that will enable cities and regions to establish public banks.

Public Bank LA, part of CPBA, claims victory despite the ballot measure’s defeat and writes about this wider strategy in a recent CPBA press release

Over 395,000 Angelenos voted in favor of a policy that they had likely never heard of before 2018. 43% in favor is a strong baseline measure of support that public banking advocates look forward to building upon through sustained outreach and education. ... Having this [state level] legal framework in place will give L.A. and other cities a solid template to work from in setting up our banks.”

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It's Our Money podcast episodes talk with PBLA, Michael Hudson, Bill Black and more

It's Our Money with Ellen Brown


In the episode “The Mouse That Roared,” It's Our Money with Ellen Brown connects with PBLA's Measure B champions Trinity Tran and Ben Hauck to find out how they did it, why they did it, what they were up against, and what's next. 

In the 100th episode “Retrospectives,” the program assembles select conversations from the nearly 5 years of special guests including Michael Hudson, Paul Hellyer, Saquib Bhatti, Bill Black, and Bob Bows. 

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San Leandro moves forward to cut ties with Wells Fargo

Divest from Wells Fargo

Photo courtesy EastBay Citizen


Following the example of a growing number of California cities, East Bay’s San Leandro released a Request for Proposals for a full-service bank to replace Wells Fargo, a full year after the city voted to divest the city from the scandal-ridden bank. San Leandro could be part of the proposed East Bay Public Bank.

The report by Steven Tavares in EastBay Citizen noted:

“With smoke from the Northern California wildfires choking the air in San Leandro, several members of the public at the finance meeting urged for greater urgency. ‘We all know that a city council is capable of moving quicker if our lives depended on it and you’re not behaving in that fashion,’ said San Leandro resident Lawrence Abbott.”

[Read the full article]

Positive Money: Could a central bank digital currency halt the privatization of our money?

public vs private money


Top policymakers in the United Kingdom recently addressed the prospect of a central bank digital currency. The UK group Positive Money writes about why this matters:

“Cash currently exists as notes and coins, which are estimated to make up just 3% of the UK money supply, with the rest of the UK’s money existing electronically. What many people don’t know is that most of this electronic money is not simply a digital equivalent of cash, as it is ultimately owned by private banks, that create it when they loan it out to us. … [Positive Money is] also proposing the introduction of [central bank] digital cash alongside physical cash. ...”

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#GivingTuesday is next week. Your gift can help public banking make even more breakthroughs

Giving Tuesday Nov 27


2018 has been the year of the public bank. As you can see from our latest map, people all across the country are becoming aware of, as one advocate put it, the "best kept secret in the country": the successful power of a public bank. 

With a donation for #GivingTuesday next week November 27, you can help us keep this momentum going!

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota. You can help make 2019 the year public banks win!

You can donate here or set up your own fundraiser on Facebook here

San Francisco to launch a SF Public Bank Coalition Jan 10

The Women's Building San Francisco

The Women's Building San Francisco, Photo by Anthony Byrd


San Francisco’s robust Defund DAPL Coalition and SF Public Bank are joining forces to launch a SF Public Bank Coalition January 10 with an evening event that brings together speakers, music, food and community.

Attendees will learn how a city-owned public bank can bring San Francisco’s $11 billion budget “From Wall Street to Our Streets,” and can strategize in break out sessions focused on student debt, affordable housing, renewable energy and more. Event takes place at The Women’s Building 3543 18th St #8, San Francisco, CA 94110. More information hereFacebook event here.

The call goes up in Rhode Island for a public bank

Wall Street bull


The benefits of public banking are now making their way into conversations all over the country. Former history teacher Joe Clifford makes a call for a public bank of Rhode Island in a recent article in GoLocal:

“The most successful bank in this country is a public bank owned by the citizens of North Dakota. [It’s] the best kept secret in the country. … If you live in Rhode Island would it not be prudent to have a bank owned by the citizens of the state, overseen by the citizenry, and not interested in profit? Imagine the savings of the just-approved bond issues if RI had a public bank.”

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Why do you support PBI? Send us a line for our #GivingTuesday campaign

#GivingTuesday campaign 1


PBI is participating in this year's #GivingTuesday initiative — a global day of giving. This year it will take place on November 27.

Your donations make it possible for PBI to be your hub for public banking information, to connect and inspire this movement, to educate the public, and to inform public officials.

Help us inspire others to give. Tell us in a quick sentence why you support PBI and public banking and send it to communications@publicbankinginstitute.org. Thank you for all the help and generous donations!


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