Pressley Advances Critical Housing Priorities in Reconciliation Markup

September 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded the committee’s passage of its portion of the Build Back Better Act, which makes a historic investment of over $300 billion in the nation’s housing stock and includes several key priorities championed by Rep. Pressley to combat our nation’s housing crisis and put us on a path to ending homelessness and housing poverty.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make historic investments that affirm housing as the fundamental human right that it is—and today we are one step closer to that goal,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “As we continue fighting to reinstate the federal eviction moratorium to keep families safely housed during this pandemic, I’m proud to have helped craft the Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act to help expand affordable housing access, close the racial wealth and homeownership gaps, and promote safe and healthy housing. With the public health and economic crises raging, we must take every measure necessary to work towards a nation where everyone has a safe and livable home and legislate a just and equitable recovery that leaves no family and no community behind. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see this bill across the finish line.”

Notable provisions advocated for by Congresswoman Pressley that were included in the bill that passed out of the House Financial Services Committee would:

  • Expand affordable housing access. The bill dramatically expands the availability of rental assistance by providing $90 billion for housing vouchers and project-based rental assistance and investing $37 billion for the Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve affordable housing for extremely low-income families.
  • Help close racial wealth and homeownership gaps. The legislation provides $10 billion to create a new down payment assistance program for first-time, first-generation homebuyers in alignment with Rep. Pressley’s Downpayment Toward Equity Act; and
  • Promote safe and healthy housing. The bill invests $10 billion to remove lead-hazards in housing, which will help remove lead and other health and safety hazards from more than 581,300 units, and fully eliminates the public housing repair backlog.

Rep. Pressley continues to lead efforts to advance housing justice on behalf of families across the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District and the nation. She is a leading voice in Congress working to reinstate the federal eviction moratorium as a matter of economic, public health and racial justice. In July, she organized in solidarity with Congresswoman Bush and other progressive colleagues to urge the Administration to act unilaterally to extend this protection—efforts that resulted in a new targeted CDC eviction moratorium. Last month, following the Supreme Court ruling striking down the moratorium, she led her colleagues in calling on Congressional leadership imploring them to swiftly pass legislation to extend the federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic.

Rep. Pressley has also consistently advocated for bold, race-conscious policies to help close the racial wealth gap in America. Earlier this year, Rep. Pressley joined Chairwoman Maxine Waters in introducing the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 to help address the legacy of discrimination in U.S. housing markets and close the racial wealth and homeownership gaps by providing $100 billion toward downpayment and other financial assistance for first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home.

In February, she and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the American Opportunity Accounts Act, also known as “Baby Bonds,” to create a federally-funded savings account for every American child at birth that will grow each year depending on family income.

She has also been a leader in the fight to cancel student loan debt, which disproportionately impacts people of color and contributes to the racial and gender wealth gaps. In February, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and their colleagues, reintroduced their bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers.

In May 2020, she introduced the Saving Our Street Act with then-Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to provide economic relief to small businesses with less than 10 employees, with a specific focus on Black and brown-owned businesses.

 

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