CHN: House Infrastructure Package Contains Money for Housing, Schools, Broadband, and More
House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill on June 18, and the full House could take up the bill as early as this week. Advocates have two main interests in any infrastructure package: whether it has human needs-related components, such as money for low-income housing or to rebuild schools or child care centers, for example, and whether it will be effective in creating jobs targeted to low-income people and communities, with special attention paid to communities of color.
According to materials from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrats, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) will invest $130 billion to improve and rebuild facilities in high-poverty schools; includes $10 billion to improve child care facilities; promotes revitalization in economically distressed communities; and promotes further development in and parity for tribal communities. In addition, the bill would invest $100 billion to promote competition for broadband internet infrastructure to unserved and underserved rural, suburban, and urban communities, prioritizing communities in persistent poverty. On the health front, the bill would invest $25 billion to ensure all communities have clean drinking water, and would invest $30 billion to upgrade hospitals to increase capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service‘s infrastructure, and increase capacity for community-based care. $25 billion is also included in the bill for the U.S. Postal Service infrastructure and operations.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the bill proposes $100 billion to construct and preserve 1.8 million affordable homes, including $70 billion for public housing capital repairs and $5 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund. In addition to the money for affordable housing, the bill would expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by creating targeted housing incentives to build homes in rural and tribal communities and for people at risk of homelessness. The bill would also establish a Neighborhood Investment Tax Credit to subsidize certain development costs for the construction of new homes or rehabilitation of vacant homes. According to CQ, the bill also contains $3.3 billion for energy efficiency projects for low-income housing and $1 billion for solar projects in underserved areas. CQ also reports that the White House may be working on its own $1 trillion infrastructure package.
While statements about HR 2 suggest it will create millions of jobs, no details are provided on that front.