Housing has returned to the focus of the Biden government’s efforts for an additional infrastructure plan.
President Joe Biden said this week he was planning a “historic investment” in affordable housing by building and renovating more than two million homes.
“We have to deal with the shortage of affordable housing in America,” said Biden. “Over 10 million renters in this country pay more than half their income to rent their homes, and the lack of affordable housing is preventing people from moving to communities where there are more options.”
His commitment to add the living space to an additional infrastructure package was welcomed by California Democratic Congressman Maxine Waters, who heads the house’s financial services committee. In a statement, Waters said her “top priority” is making sure Biden includes housing funding in an infrastructure plan.
“The president assured me that housing would be included in the reconciliation,” Waters wrote. âTo be clear, with housing costs skyrocketing, communities across the country – including rural, suburban and urban Americas – need affordable housing more than ever. To say the pandemic has destabilized an already unstable housing market is an understatement. “
The reappearance of housing in Biden’s infrastructure plan comes as housing supply has plummeted to historic lows.
The National Association of Brokers, who represents real estate agents, said there is a cumulative supply-demand gap of 6.8 million homes. The loss of existing units – through demolition, natural disasters or functional obsolescence – together with the underproduction of new housing units has contributed to the shortage.
But even with the president’s insistence that housing be part of an infrastructure package, it is unclear whether he could get the necessary support from enough democratic centers. The Democrats only have a slim majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the 51st vote. That leaves little room for internal disputes.
Biden said he did wouldn’t sign the first infrastructure plan, if not also the second infrastructure package, has reached his desk. Some Republicans viewed this as bad faith negotiation, and Biden later made it clear that he was not intended his utterances as a threat of veto. The exchange showed the fragility of the negotiations for both packages.
In June, Biden announced that he had secured himself non-partisan support for a $ 1.2 trillion limited infrastructure contract. Housing and elderly care appeared nowhere in the stripped-down agreement, which was a fraction of its original $ 2.3 trillion proposal for the American Jobs Plan.
Instead, the plan focused on traditional infrastructure improvements such as expanding local transport and rail, rebuilding roads, expanding charging stations for electric vehicles, upgrading water infrastructure, and preparing for the effects of climate change.
The Democrats in Congress have announced that they will adopt an infrastructure package containing many of Biden’s original proposals through a process called reconciliation. The abbreviated procedure allows Congress to pass laws on taxes, spending, and debt limits by a simple majority.