Senate Democrats passed yesterday a reconciliation package that includes roughly $433 billion in new spending over the next 10 years on climate, energy, and health provisions. However, the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” as the bill is known, excludes housing investments necessary to address skyrocketing rents and the severe shortage of affordable homes for the lowest-income renters. The cost of housing is the single largest component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key measure of inflation, and addressing the rising cost of housing is central to decreasing inflationary pressure on households, especially in the long term. As passed in the Senate, the reconciliation bill would provide only $1 billion for energy upgrades in HUD housing and would exclude public housing units from these upgrades.
The U.S. House-passed “Build Back Better Act” included the kind of targeted affordable housing investments needed to bridge the widening gap between incomes and rising housing costs and address the severe lack of deeply affordable rental homes. By failing to include the Build Back Better Act’s historic and targeted affordable housing investments in the currently negotiated package, Congress risks missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help end homelessness and housing poverty in America.
The House is expected to return to session this week to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.