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Politics & Money

Hopes for generational investment in housing fade in DC

Slim Democratic majority diminishes chances for a $3.5T social infrastructure package

Washington D.C

The bipartisan infrastructure package has yet to clear its first hurdle, and the inclusion of provisions to address any of the nation’s housing dilemmas grows more unclear.

The U.S. Senate attempted to move forward this week with a whittled-down, $579 billion infrastructure package that will include traditional infrastructure items. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called a procedural vote to advance a placeholder bill for the infrastructure package. On Wednesday, the measure failed, 49-51. Shortly after, Schumer filed a motion to reconsider the failed vote.

To accomplish the Biden administration’s social infrastructure agenda, which was entirely left out of the bipartisan framework, Senate Democrats hope to pass a separate $3.5 trillion infrastructure package without support from Senate Republicans. That measure, although there is no formal bill text, would include investment in affordable and low-income housing.

“We are going to make the largest single investment in the history of the country in building lower income and affordable housing,” said Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders. “And, when we do that it’s going to create a whole lot of great-paying jobs.”

Meanwhile, a separate effort is underway in the House of Representatives. Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California last week introduced a package of housing-focused legislation, including a $600 billion effort to improve housing infrastructure, an expansion of housing vouchers and downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers. The package boasts the support of dozens of housing-focused trade associations and advocacy groups.

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