Why Biden sees solving the housing crisis as the path out of inflation
The president called his administration’s work on the issue the “most important thing” it can do to lower costs for working people.
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FIRST THINGS FIRST
As experts warn that rising inflation and interest rates could threaten to send the US economy into free fall, President Joe Biden last week at a local Mexican restaurant during his west-coast swing last week called the work to address the housing crisis the “most important thing” his administration has to do to lower costs for working people.
“I think there’s a general recognition that this inflationary period that’s been so sticky and persistent and with seemingly no end in sight, housing and solving for the housing crisis and the affordable housing shortage must be one of the solution ideas in the long term,” Cy Richardson, senior vice president for programs at the National Urban League, said to Supercreator on Tuesday. “So that makes sense and jives with how we understand what’s happening in local economies and we see housing and home ownership and asset building as an important component in the solution matrix that the administration and other allies are attempting to reach and produce.”
Richardson added that the housing crisis has been exacerbated by a number of institutional headwinds and blockage points, including appraisal bias, inaccessibility to downpayment assistance and credit-score discrimination.
He also pointed to a disconnect between the type of housing being produced and the demand from multi-generational households, which have grown sharply in the US over the past five decades and show no sign of peaking, according to the Pew Research Center.
“I think there hasn’t been enough of an imagining around the type of home that needs to respond to the current crisis we’re in.”
A White House spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment on what the work President Biden alluded to would entail. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development linked me to a press release with highlights of the administration’s actions to increase affordable housing supply and lower housing costs when asked for updates on the work the agency is doing to make rent and homeownership more affordable for working people.
In Congress, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees public and private housing, has led the charge to lower housing costs and improve equity in the US’s housing system, including convening 12 hearings on the challenges facing homeowners and renters. Brown has also fought to close the racial homeownership gap and for relief for homeowners and renters during the pandemic.
“Brown will continue to work with his colleagues in Congress and in the Biden administration to expand the supply of affordable housing and bring down one of the biggest costs for consumers,” a spokesperson for Chairman Brown’s office said to Supercreator.
A spokesperson for the House Financial Services Committee, whose jurisdiction includes public and private housing, did not respond to a request for comment.
Biden to announce additional oil and gas actions
The White House will issue a notice of sale for 15 million additional barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, President Biden will announce this afternoon during a speech in the Roosevelt Room.
The president will also announce that his administration will replenish the SPR, which is an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the United States Department of Energy to balance markets and keep gas prices from climbing, by repurchasing crude oil when prices are at below a certain per-barrel threshold to stretch taxpayer dollars. Senior administration officials told reporters on Tuesday evening that this move will encourage firms to invest in production right now and help to improve U.S. energy security and bring down energy prices. (The Energy Department will also finalize a rule that will allow it to enter fixed-price contracts through a competitive bid process for product delivered at a future date.)
Biden will call on companies to pass through lower energy costs to consumers as well. The administration claims that the profit that energy refining companies are now taking on every gallon of gas is about double what it typically is at this time of year, and the retailer margin over the refinery price is more than 40 percent above the typical level. As a result, you’re paying about sixty cents more for the average price of a gallon.
Officials said that the actions are part of the president’s commitment to do everything he can to lower costs amid historic inflation although there’s really not much new here. And Republicans are calling the announcement a political stunt designed to neutralize the momentum they’ve picked up on economic issues ahead of the midterms.
The announcement is also part of a walk-and-chew-gum strategy of focusing on the economy while keeping abortion rights at the top of the news cycle, an issue the White House believes will energize Democratic voters and independents to turn out to the ballot box. President Biden on Tuesday announced he would propose a bill to restore Roe v. Wade if Democrats keep control of the House and expand their Senate majority by at least two seats and sign the bill near the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision in January.
Pelosi unbothered by criticism from the rank and file
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t take calls for generational change in Democratic leadership from younger members of the caucus personally.
“I say, just win, baby. Just win,” Pelosi told Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday during an interview on MSNBC. We will not in any way do anything but totally support mobilization-wise, message-wise, money-wise for those people to win their races.”
Pelosi and her top two deputies, House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn are at least 82 years old. President Biden will turn 80 next month. And several Democratic congressional committee chairpersons are older adults due to the caucus’s reliance on seniority, despite the party’s voters skewing younger.
The criticism from younger members isn’t new but it has intensified in recent months as the rumor mill churns with speculation on whether Pelosi will retire after the midterms, a move that would set off fierce competition for a few plum leadership posts.
Pelosi acknowledged that the party needs generational change but also argued that in some cases there’s no substitute for experience.
But her focus right now is on holding on to her slim majority, which she sees as one of the last lines of defense for democracy, personal freedom and environmental justice against extremist factions of the Republican Party.
“These are very valued members of Congress. We respect them for what they believe and what they do,” Pelosi said of the younger House Democrats. “We want them to be re-elected. I don’t have any problem with anybody criticizing me.”
FTC to host event on kids and digital ads
The Federal Trade Commission today will hold a virtual event on digital advertising to kids that will focus on the techniques tech companies and markets use to advertise to children online and what actions should be taken to protect young people from manipulative messages.
“We applaud the FTC for bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss how to best protect kids from online targeted advertising, Girard Kelly, senior counsel and director of the Privacy Program at Common Sense Media and event speaker, said in a statement to Supercreator. “We hope the event provides the Commission with valuable insight as it determines whether new trade regulations are needed to protect our kids and teens from commercial surveillance.”
Spending on digital advertising hit $2.9 billion in 2021, according to Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data. And it’s expected to jump 22 percent to $21.1 billion dollars between 2021 and 2031. North America (Canada, Mexico and the US) are the biggest spenders on digital ads, accounting for 37 percent of the total, followed by Europe with 29 percent and Asia-Pacific with 24 percent.
The event will include three panels featuring researchers, child development and legal experts, consumer advocates and industry professionals who will discuss topics ranging from children’s capacity at different ages and developmental stages to recognize and understand advertising content and distinguish it from other content to the harms to children resulting from the inability of children to recognize advertising.
The event will also delve into what measures should be taken to protect children from blurred content in digital marketing and the format, timing, placement, wording, and frequency of disclosures.
In addition to the event, the FTC is accepting public comment on the topics discussed at the event until November 18. Learn more on how to submit comments.
HHS announces new investments for mental health
The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday announced the availability of $15 million in new funding for states to develop Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to address the country’s mental health crisis.
CCBHCs provide crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay.
The money is from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the law Congress passed after the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas earlier this year and adds to the nearly $300 million awarded in September for new and existing CCBHCs.
“In June, I was proud to sign the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included unprecedented resources to help address mental health needs across our nation, particularly for young people that have been exposed to violence,” President Biden said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, my administration has announced the availability of funding that will help grow the pipeline of school-based mental health professionals, expand trauma-informed services in schools and connect youth in need to mental health experts via telehealth.”
Biden said his administration will announce additional resources to support mental health workers and strengthen mental health in communities in the coming weeks.
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TODAY IN POLITICS
President Biden this morning will receive his daily intelligence briefing. After lunch with Vice President Harris, the president will give a speech on new the administration’s new actions to lower gas prices and a speech on the bipartisan infrastructure law.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this morning will speak at the Communities In Schools Leadership Town Hall Conference on academic achievement. This afternoon, she will visit the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC to thank DNC staff and volunteers for their work ahead of the midterm elections.
The House and Senate are out.
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