The House of Representatives voted on November 19 to approve the “Build Back Better Act” by a near party-line vote of 220-213. The $1.75 trillion economic recovery package includes more than $150 billion in affordable housing and community development investments, including significant funding for NLIHC’s HoUSed campaign’s top priorities:
- $25 billion to expand housing vouchers to over 300,000 households
- $65 billion to preserve the nation’s deteriorating public housing infrastructure
- $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes
The Build Back Better Act now moves on to the Senate, where further changes to the bill’s provisions are expected. Before being brought to the Senate floor for a vote, President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), centrist Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), and other senators must agree to the final size and scope of the bill. A recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the bill would increase the federal deficit by $367 billion over 10 years but did not take into consideration significant additional revenue that would come from increased tax enforcement. Any further cuts to the overall size of the Build Back Better Act could put the bill’s affordable housing investments at risk.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer says the chamber will vote on Build Back Better in December, and congressional leaders hope to enact the bill before Congress adjourns at the end of the year. Because changes in the Senate are expected, however, the bill will need to go back to the House for a final vote to approve the updated legislation before being sent to the president’s desk for his signature. The timeline could slip into 2022.
To enact this ambitious bill, President Biden and congressional leaders need the support of every Democratic senator and nearly all Democratic representatives. Advocates should continue weighing in with their members of Congress about the importance of these historic affordable housing investments and why funding for rental assistance, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund are critical to your communities.
Please email and call your senators and urge them to support the Build Back Better Act and its historic investments in affordable housing, including rental assistance, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund.
Thank you for your advocacy!