September 28, 2021

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Warner threatens to vote against $3.5 trillion bill over housing assistance for black families

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) Warns he could vote against the $ 3.5 trillion budget package unless more money is added for housing aid to fill the racial wealth gap in the current version of the bill, Axios learned.

Why it matters: Warner’s threat is yet another indication that the proposal will face a variety of obstacles before the House and Senate can agree on a top-line number on how that money will be spent on certain programs – and how everything will be paid for .

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  • “As currently written, this proposal is not sufficient,” Warner said in a statement to Axios on the House of Representatives’ provisions on housing allowance.

  • Warner, a member of the Budgets Committee who helped negotiate the $ 3.5 trillion Senate, denies the House of Representatives funding level, which he believes is around $ 600 million.

  • “I will be working in the Senate to make the American dream of home ownership and wealth creation more accessible to historically disadvantaged communities.”

The big picture: House and Senate committees are creating specific laws to generate $ 1.5 trillion in new revenue and spend about $ 3.5 trillion on building the social safety net, including a variety of new programs from universal preschool through the free community college to new funds for housing and rent grants.

  • The top line numbers could change dramatically, with Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) tells CNN’s Dana Bash that the $ 3.5 trillion package “won’t have my vote”.

  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the same program that Manchin’s refusal to support the $ 3.5 trillion plan was “absolutely unacceptable to me”.

  • “I don’t think it’s acceptable to the president, the American people, or the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic Group,” he added.

Between the lines: Warner had negotiated a private agreement in the Senate for billions of dollars in down payment assistance for first-time home buyers and given them new tools – including a 20-year federal mortgage – to help them build equity in their home.

Go deeper: Manchin warned privately the White House and the leaders of Congress that he has specific political concerns about President Biden’s dream of $ 3.5 trillion in welfare spending – and he will only support $ 1 trillion of that.

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