Housing Plays Central Role in Biden Infrastructure Proposal

The White House unveiled an outline of President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal this morning, providing investments in housing and other critical needs of the nation. Biden will address this proposal in a speech from Pittsburgh, Pa. later today.

“NAHRO is pleased that the President’s ‘American Jobs Plan’ recognizes that housing is infrastructure,” NAHRO President Sunny Shaw said. “It calls for resources to expand and preserve the country’s supply of affordable homes, among other critical national investments.” President Shaw’s full statement on the proposal is here.

The full details of the proposal have not been released, but an outline of the proposal includes $213 billion in investments in “affordable and sustainable places to live through targeted tax credits, formula funding, grants, and project-based rental assistance.” The proposal also includes “innovative new approach[es] to eliminate state and local exclusionary zoning laws.”

The $213 billion proposed housing investments include:

  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $40 billion
  • $20 billion in homeownership tax credits over 5 years
  • Home upgrades, retrofits, and weatherization: $27 billion

Much like the President’s annual budget proposal, the infrastructure proposal is simply a wish list for Congress. The actual legislative package that moves through Congress is likely to have some differences, even though Democrats control both the House and the Senate. The power of the federal purse rests firmly with Congress.

NAHRO will continue to advocate to Congress and the White House to provide funding for the full backlog of the Public Housing Capital Fund and to make investments in community development programs that have been the backbone of our nation’s infrastructure, like the Community Development Block Grant program and the HOME program. Contact your Members of Congress and the President today to voice your support for NAHRO’s infrastructure priorities.

Infrastructure is the main priority in Congress this spring. House committees with jurisdiction over infrastructure received instructions earlier this month to begin assembling their portions of the infrastructure bill. NAHRO testified last week before the House Financial Services Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee on a hearing on the preservation of public housing and the $70 billion backlog.

Passage of the package is far from assured; Republicans are unlikely to support the proposal and Democrats will need to use budget reconciliation again to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Even passing the package on a strictly partisan basis, Democrats may still struggle to get it approved. House Progressive Democrats have criticized the scope of the package, calling it too small, and Democrats from states with high state taxes are threatening to oppose unless the package includes a repeal of state and local tax caps. Moderate Senate Democrats are also likely to oppose components of the package.

Despite these obstacles, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has outlined an ambitious schedule to move an infrastructure package through the House, aiming to pass a bill and send it to the Senate before the 4th of July recess, which is in just six legislative weeks.

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