Several proposals to provide more housing options for low-income households were pulled from Democrats’ latest climate legislation before the U.S. Senate approved it this weekend.
The bill, named the Inflation Reduction Act, contains hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to clean energy incentives, which were offset by health-care cost reductions and tax hikes on large corporations.
But previous versions of the bill that would have set aside funding for affordable housing ended up on the cutting-room floor, according to reports from CNN and other news outlets.
Before the final compromises, the bill would have payed for $25 billion worth of construction, repairs and purchases of affordable homes for low-income families. Some of that money would have also gone toward low-cost rental housing.
Public housing projects — which are facing a backlog of capital — and rental-assistance programs would have received another $65 billion in the previous version of the bill.
The cuts didn’t stop there.
Down-payment assistance and community redevelopment projects were removed before the final version of the bill was posted. And another $25 billion in housing vouchers and other services never made it to the final version of the bill.
The Inflation Reduction Act was an effort to get several of President Joe Biden’s biggest legislative priorities across the finish line through a limited process known as budget reconciliation. This process ensured that Republicans could not stop the bill through the filibuster. But it also meant that all 50 Senate Democrats had to agree on all of its eventual contents.
The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote on the bill later this week.
Using tax credits for clean-energy production, the bill is expected to help the U.S. reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases by 42 percent by 2030 compared to their 2005 levels, according to estimates from the REPEAT Project.
Without this legislation or other additional action, emissions were expected to fall 27 percent — which would fall far short of President Joe Biden’s stated goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030.
These tax credits are expected to be offset by new tax revenue from America’s largest corporations. The bill also attempts to find savings for the government by capping the prices of certain prescription drugs.
In the end, affordable housing was far from the only part of the bill to fail to receive widespread support among Senate Democrats. Proposals for universal pre-K, paid leave from work, and college cost reduction all ended up on the chopping block.