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Biden urges support for black businesses and homeownership

The former vice president slams Treasury’s handling of PPP

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November’s election, on Tuesday urged voters to support his plans to boost the economic prospects of black Americans, including an increase in homeownership.

“The gap between African American and white homeownership is larger today than it was when the Fair Housing Act was first passed in 1968 – a key contributor to the unacceptable racial wealth gap that persists between American households,” Biden said in a statement that was posted on Medium. “We’re going to fix that,” he said.

Biden reiterated the proposal he made during the heat of the primary campaign to create a new public credit reporting agency within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that would replace for-profit credit reporting companies like Experian.

The government needs to “end discrimination in credit reporting by creating a new public credit reporting agency to catch and eliminate racial disparities,” he said.

Biden also proposed establishing national standards for housing appraisals aimed at ending “the undervaluing of homes in African American neighborhoods,” without providing specifics.

The net worth of a typical African American family is about one-tenth the wealth of a typical white family, Biden said. The disparity has widened over the last fifty years, he said.

“We need a comprehensive agenda for African Americans – a plan with the ambition to match the scale of the challenge, and one that recognizes that race-neutral policies are not a sufficient response to race-based disparities,” Biden said.

Biden slammed Treasury’s handling of the Paycheck Protection Program, the small-business rescue fund created by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act at the end of March, saying it left out too many minority-owned businesses.

After the initial $349 billion of funding was depleted in three weeks, Congress renewed it with an additional $320 billion on April 27. About $60 billion in the second tranche was earmarked for community and regional banks, a move aimed at preventing the money from being scooped up by deep-pocketed businesses.

“The first installment of the Paycheck Protection Program created in response to COVID-19 largely left out minority-owned businesses,” Biden said.

Biden urged Congress to reserve half of all new relief funds for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, a category he said includes 98 percent of all minority- and women-owned businesses.

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