Democrats say affordable housing would be a top priority in a Biden administration

Democrats say affordable housing would be a top priority in a Biden administration
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Democrats on Tuesday said there has been a lack of federal leadership on affordable housing under President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE and that the issue would be a top priority in a Biden administration.

Speaking at The Hill’s virtual event on affordable housing, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro, who was also a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said former Vice President Joe Biden would reinstate many of the housing policies implemented during the Obama-era that were subsequently rolled back by Trump.

Castro touted the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a 2015 HUD initiative the Trump administration has since terminated that required localities receiving federal funds create plans to remove discriminatory or biased fair housing barriers. He also promoted the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinated efforts across 19 agencies to reduce veteran homeless.

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Castro said both programs are examples of Biden’s commitment to innovative and all-encompassing policy.

“We absolutely can make gains from not siloing housing from education from transportation from health, but focusing holistically on how people live their lives,” Castro told The Hill’s Steve Clemons. “I know Vice President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE supports that kind of work.”

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Rep. Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneProgressives' spending proposals are out of step with battleground voters Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare House Democrats call for spending bill to include expansion of housing credit MORE (D-Wash.), who also spoke at Tuesday's event sponsored by Enterprise, said housing assistance is a top priority for Democrats, and even an area for potential bipartisanship.

“People can’t get by, have a job, help their children have a great education if they don’t have a safe place to live,” she said. “That’s even more important during a pandemic. Affordable housing was a top priority before the crisis, but now it’s an even more critical priority given the situation that’s happening for families all across the country.”

DelBene also discussed her bill, the Affordable Credit Housing Improvement Act, which aims to strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by stabilizing its value and increasing the amount of credits allocated to states. The measure, which would also create jobs through funding the building of new affordable housing units, has 76 Republicans among its 223 cosponsors in the House. The Senate version also has GOP support, but neither measure has advanced.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDC police accused of racial, sex discrimination The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE (D), who spoke at last night’s virtual convention and has made D.C. the first city to set affordable housing targets by neighborhood, said at Tuesday's event that federal leadership is needed to truly address the nation's housing crisis.

She said the situation with rent and mortgage insecurity is so dire that assistance cannot wait until after the election, and called for greater federal funds for affordable housing projects.

“What we talked about last night was putting Black Lives Matter into action and bringing those words alive in all of our policies,” Bowser said. “Affordable housing is important to Black people and the Black agenda.”