Republicans and Democrats clash in hearing on racial discrimination in housing
U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore and Bryan Steil engaged in a fierce exchange over Republican talking points on inflation during a hearing aimed at addressing the legacy of discriminatory federal home loan policies.
Republicans deepened talking points on inflation as Democrats sought to address historic racial discrimination in the housing market and identify policies that could reduce economic opportunity for disenfranchised communities.
During a hearing of the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Growth Equity on Tuesday, Ranking Member Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) spoke in a fierce exchange to respond to Republican attempts to ignore the legacy of discriminatory federal home loan policies.
“One of the things that we’ve really highlighted is the impact of the cost of rising rents, the impact that’s having on Americans. Inflation is impacting everyone, but it’s crushing the elderly fixed income among low-income workers,” Steil said. “It’s paramount that we get inflation under control. We get our spending under control here in Washington.
Congresswoman Moore fired back, “I was born in the Ranking Member district, so I know his constituency well. It is one of the worst housing stocks in our state.
“That may be the highest unemployment rate among African Americans in the state in her district,” she added. “So these are people who could benefit a lot by having more housing options.”
Moore then asked hearing witness Nikitra Bailey, senior vice president of public policy at the National Fair Housing Alliance, to explain how American housing and Federal Housing Authority loans originally prevented black Americans from obtain properties that would generate generational wealth.
“Was that historical in terms of wages, FHA housing policy, can you just briefly tell us if that was your opinion or your story?” Moore asked.
“This is the story of our nation. The reality though is that we have this opportunity through inclusive policies to change this story,” Bailey replied.
By tackling the racial politics of the past by including black Americans, Bailey predicts the economy can grow by $1 trillion over the next five years. She recommends that Congress consider approving a $10 billion program to provide down payment assistance to underserved communities. Bailey also encouraged lawmakers to push for home lenders to consider rent payment histories when reviewing borrower applications.
Credit ratings are tied to the legacy of exclusionary economic policies in the United States.
“One of the biggest determinants of your credit score is how much of your actual credit you’re using,” Bailey explained. “A family that’s been barred from homeownership over generations doesn’t have savings for a down payment, so they’re likely going to use a higher percentage of their credit score towards buying their home, which means that she is going to have a lower overall credit score because of this history of discrimination.
During two hours of conversation about the legacy of racism in the US housing industry, Ranking member Steil focused on inflation in his opening remarks and remained convinced that the fight against the inflation was the solution for households needing a down payment.
“We need to find ways to make the housing market and housing in particular more affordable. This means reducing costs. This means controlling inflation, allowing individuals to increase their savings and preventing those savings from being eaten away,” Steil argued.
Republicans have embraced inflation as their main message against Democrats, but in the US Senate they have refused to move forward with votes to confirm President Biden’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The Federal Reserve is the governing body responsible for monetary policies that directly address inflation.
Democrats in the Senate have been unable to move the process forward and continue to try to appeal to their fellow senators.
“If we want to keep growing our economy, we need all seven Fed governors in place. We need these professionals – working, debating and making decisions on monetary policy, interest rates, jobs and the fight against inflation,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown said Tuesday. speaking to his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!”
The post Republicans and Democrats clash at hearing on racial discrimination in housing appeared first on TheGrio.