The approximately $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better Act,” which dedicates unprecedented funding for a broad swath of social programs including housing, passed the House last Friday, despite stiff opposition from Republicans. The passage inches the bill forward, even as its fate and specific language will be subject to further scrutiny.
Real estate advocates have mostly supported the bill, which includes around $150 billion in housing-related investments. The bill must still pass the Senate, where more changes are likely assuming Democrats are able to hold their caucus together and move the legislation toward President Joe Biden’s desk.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals® (NAHREP) both put out statements lauding the passage of the bill, specifically highlighting attempts to address housing shortages and affordability.
“We applaud the House of Representatives on passing the Build Back Better Act. We strongly urge the Senate to act swiftly on passing this vital piece of legislation,” said NAHREP President Sara Rodriguez in a release last Friday.
“This bill is far from final,” said NAR Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn in a statement. “Expectations are the Senate could remove some provisions to lower the price tag. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure the final bill is good for the real estate economy and consumers.”
Other housing advocates were even more celebratory, with the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) calling the bill “a fundamental change in America’s approach to public and affordable housing” that will “increase housing stability, reduce poverty, provide substantial climate benefits, and spur economic activity that strengthens local communities.”
A letter signed by 48 housing advocates and non-profits addressed to congressional leaders called the legislation “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” to revitalize neighborhoods and create housing equity.
The path to the president’s signature remains murky still, as Senate moderates have already gone on the record opposing certain stipulations in the House bill including paid family leave. The House will have to vote again on any changes made in the Senate, and progressive Democrats have already demonstrated they are willing to buck leadership to get their priorities into the bill, which has already been cut from an initial $3.5 trillion package.
But after the House vote lawmakers expressed optimism that Build Back Better will become law, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying he hopes to vote on a version of the bill by Christmas.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.