Housing / Infrastructure
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How You Can Resist
- Call your Senator by dialing tel:844-6-RESIST and tell them to vote to support the Senate Democrats' infrastructure bill.
- Find out when your Senators and US Representative are holding town halls and other Upcoming Events/Opportunities. Show up and tell them to support the Senate Democrats' infrastructure bill.
- Click People_and_Organizations here to find an organization looking for volunteers.
Laws Proposed by Congress
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
- HR 1146 would require the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish a pilot program to give grants to eligible organizations to provide legal assistance to low-income families regarding housing disputes, and for other purposes.
- HR 209 would improve HUD regulations on hazardous storage containers for housing safety, and health.
- HR 915/S. 325 would permanently restore the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act 2009, which expired on December 31, 2014. The act protected tenants facing eviction by providing them adequate time to find alternative housing.
- HR 202 would amend the Fair Housing Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against prospective tenants who hold Section 8 vouchers.
- S 103 / HR 482 would nullify regulations designed to address the segregation created by redlining policies, and prohibit federal funds from being used for the HUD database that tracks community racial disparities and disparities in access to affordable housing.
See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development manages low-income housing, facilitates financing for homeownership, and administers fair housing policies. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has opposed existing protections against housing discrimination. This is especially concerning given that the housing crisis of 2008 continues to impact communities of color.
Given that Trump has been sued multiple times for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not ensuring accessibility in his properties, there is cause for concern that his administration will not ensure that affordable housing for people with disabilities is a priority. These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has actively worked against protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
The Trump administration's budget proposal includes $6 billion in cuts to HUD, about 13% of the department's budget. This would decrease funding for affordable housing and rental assistance, and could lead to evictions and housing shortages. Trump would totally eliminate the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds health-care and child-care facilities and neighborhood rehabilitation and disaster relief programs, and provides public services for seniors, youth and the disabled, including programs like Meals on Wheels. Also eliminated would be programs that focus on redeveloping low-income neighborhoods and promoting homeownership, including the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Choice Neighborhoods program and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program.
The budget proposal would eliminate programs in other departments that help low-income people. The Health and Human Services agency would have a $12.6 billion budget cut, which is about 16% of their 2017 baseline. The agency would entirely lose several community services programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay home heating costs. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal government's efforts to reduce homelessness, would be completely eliminated, as would the Legal Services Corporation, an organization that provides free civil legal advice to low-income people.
These budget cuts would have a disproportionate impact on people of color. Black households are more likely to pay more than 40% of their income for rent, and black people make up over 25% of participants in Community Development Block Grant programs. Larger percentages of Native American (35.3%), Black (34.7%), and Latino (31.9%) households qualify for energy assistance than white (15.9%) households. Nearly 30% of Legal Services Corporations' clients are black.
Donald Trump's infrastructure plan consists of a massive tax break to corporations to encourage the construction of projects they deem profitable. This will likely result in construction projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansions) that might already be planned or even underway, rather than filling infrastructure needs that have been unmet by corporations. Trump’s infrastructure proposal would be funded by $137 billion in tax breaks to private investors. This plan will not create the number of jobs Trump claims it will. The plan subsidizes investors, not projects, so there is no guarantee that these projects will prompt any new hiring. Investors could simply shift their capital from unsubsidized projects to subsidized ones and retain money from tax breaks that they had already planned to spend.
Senate Democrats submitted a proposal that would spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next 10 years. This plan would devote $210 billion to repairing roads and bridges, $110 billion to local water and sewer systems, $180 billion to expanding bus and rail systems, $75 billion to rebuilding schools, $70 billion to ports, airports, and waterways, $20 billion to expanding broadband access, and $100 billion for energy infrastructure. This plan differs from Trump’s infrastructure plan in that it would be directly funded (likely through corporate tax reform).
Trump's budget proposal would completely eliminate the Essential Air Service program, which provides federal subsidies for commercial air service at rural airports. Essential Air Service aids approximately 60 communities in Alaska and 115 communities in the 48 contiguous states that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service. Also eliminated would be Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, which funded transportation infrastructure projects.
The Department of Transportation would be cut by 13% in Trump's budget, eliminating funding for many new transit projects and support for long-distance Amtrak trains  and privatizing Air Traffic Control.
- 3/10/2017: The American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2017 "infrastructure report card," giving the nation's overall infrastructure a grade of D+. The ASCE projected that a total investment of $4.59 trillion would be required to bring infrastructure up to a B grade.
- 3/6/2017: According to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the Trump administration's plans for infrastructure projects will require higher tolls and fees on roads and bridges.