Racial justice advocates fear President Biden will let them down again – this time rejecting a plan to give low-income blacks and other minorities $ 25,000 to help them buy homes.
Homeownership subsidies are part of the $ 327 billion in housing programs that are on the chopping block now that Biden must cut his $ 3.5 trillion welfare and climate change program to meet moderate Democratic lawmakers.
“All of this funding is now in danger of being cut,” said House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters, Democrat of California and member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
She described the possible cuts as another blow to the racial equity agenda.
“Housing is an area where there has been discrimination,” Ms. Waters said. “If we want to correct the mistakes of the past, housing is one way to do it,” she said.
Homebuyer Grants is a $ 10 billion program to close a homeownership gap in which 42% of black families own their own homes compared to 72% of white families, according to analysis from the Urban Institute.
If the program is removed, black activists and voters will be forced to reassess Democrats’ commitment to the racial justice program. Mr Biden and his Democrats have already broken their promises to overhaul racial justice to police and election laws.
“We will have to ask ourselves how determined we are to fight racial equity,” said David Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, a left-wing advocacy group.
Housing is not the only area where the racial justice agenda risks being left out in a more modest welfare and climate change bill.
Supporters of the expansion of Obamacare and a tuition-free community college also say these plans to tackle racial inequalities will be curtailed.
The previous flashback to racial justice has already entered the polls. Mr Biden saw his support drop among black voters, from 85% approval in August to 67% in September, according to a Pew Research Center poll.
Moreover, the downsizing would come after black Democratic lawmakers like Representative Jamal Bowman from New York for months said they did not want the racial inequalities of the New Deal to repeat. Some left-wing academics have said that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s social policies disproportionately benefit whites because they exclude blacks from parts of the agenda, including home loans.
Under Ms. Waters’ $ 10 billion plan, the federal government would provide a down payment of $ 20,000 to those who would be the first in their families to own a home.
A study by the Urban Institute estimated that 36% of the estimated 4 million families who would benefit from aid would be black, even though they represent only 13.4% of the American population.
In addition, the proposal would provide an additional $ 5,000 in down payment assistance to people belonging to “socially disadvantaged groups”.
The idea has been criticized on the right for being racist by discriminating against whites.
Yet Democrats are not on the same page on how to close the homeownership gap. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, has offered a $ 15,000 tax credit to all first-time homebuyers other family members have owned or not a house. His plan would also not give extra money to “socially disadvantaged” groups.
Meanwhile, proposals to expand Obamacare and start covering dental care through Medicare are also being touted as helping minorities. Democrats want to create a new government program to provide public health coverage to 2 million people who are still uninsured in 12 Republican-led states who have chosen not to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Sixty percent of those who would get insurance would be people of color, according to a study by the Liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Forty-seven percent of seniors did not go to a dentist in 2018. But the number was higher for minorities, said Dan Adcock, director of government relations and policy for the National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare, citing a study by the Kaiser family. Foundation. Sixty-eight percent of black seniors and 61% of Latin American seniors have not received dental care, compared to 43% of white seniors.
For now, tight margins in Congress and a standoff between moderate and progressive Democrats are ensuring cuts to the $ 3.5 trillion package.
It tests the Democratic Party’s commitment to racial justice, which rivals the climate change agenda and many new benefits for a larger group of low-income families and working people.
Moderate Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, have said he will not support spending more than $ 1.5 trillion on spending insanity.
Mr Biden has admitted he will have to cut the bill between $ 1.8 billion and $ 2.1 billion.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, offered to save money by funding all programs in the program for five years instead of ten years as originally planned. But others on the left fear Congress could be in the hands of Republicans when programs like the Obamacare expansion are expected to be reauthorized, potentially terminating the program at that time.