After Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the Senate would delay voting on the “Build Back Better Act” until January, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on Sunday (December 19) that he would not support the historic recovery package, which includes over $150 billion for investments in affordable housing and community development.
The $1.75 trillion package includes over $150 billion in affordable housing and community development investments, including significant funding for NLIHC’s HoUSed campaign’s top policy priorities:
- $25 billion to expand rental assistance to more than 300,000 households;
- $65 billion to preserve public housing for its 2.5 million residents; and
- $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously committed the chamber to passing the legislation before December 25, but procedural barriers and hesitancy from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) stalled negotiations. Leader Schumer had indicated he would bring the Senate back from recess a week early, making the week of January 3 the earliest the Build Back Better Act could be brought up for a vote in the Senate.
Lawmakers are using a process known as “budget reconciliation” to enact the legislation. This move allows Congress to pass a bill with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the 60 votes typically required to pass legislation. However, the process is governed by strict rules limiting the types of provisions that can be included in a reconciliation package, including the “Byrd Rule,” which restricts the provisions to those that have a “more than incidental” effect on federal spending or revenues. Lawmakers have been working through a process known as the “Byrd Bath,” in which the Senate parliamentarian reviews the bill for potential violations of the Byrd Rule.
President Biden had taken the lead on negotiations with Senator Manchin, but when the senator said on December 20 that he will not vote for the bill, he reiterated his insistence that his colleagues pick a few top priorities and fund them for an extended period, rather than funding multiple priorities for shorter timeframes.
Your advocacy is needed, now more than ever. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has pledged to continue working on the Build Back Better Act until it is enacted. As negotiations in the Senate and with the administration continue, it is crucial that advocates continue to make their voices heard to protect and advance the bill’s historic affordable housing investments.
Email and call your senators and urge them to support the Build Back Better Act and its historic investments in rental assistance, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund!