The White House announces Build Back Better framework: The White House released a statement outlining the legislative framework of President Joe Biden’s proposed Build Back Better Act. Highlights of his scaled-back $1.75 trillion plan include two years of free preschool for 3- and 4-year-old children, measures to expand access to affordable health care, increased efforts to battle climate change, the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for around 17 million low-wage workers, and investing in overhauling tax administration to shift more of the burden from middle class Americans to wealthy taxpayers.
Framework includes major investment in affordable housing: President Biden’s revised Build Back Better Act includes $150 billion for affordable housing, The Hill reports. While a significant reduction from the $327 billion initially sought by Democrats, it still represents triple the current budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The framework includes $65 billion toward repairing and replacing public housing and $25 billion toward rental assistance. The inclusion of such a significant investment is a major win for housing advocates as the nation faces an affordable-housing crisis.
Tuition-free community college plan nixed: President Biden’s plan to offer tuition-free community college became a casualty of the scaled-back version of his Build Back Better framework, Vox reports. The plan would have provided for $45.5 billion for states to offer two free years of community college to every student for the next five years. The provision was eliminated despite evidence that free tuition for community college can lead to higher college enrollment and higher wages for low-income and students and students of color.
HBCU advocates relieved by proposed funding: While the estimated $3 billion or more in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in federal spending is less than President Biden sought, The Olympian reports that HBCU advocates are relieved that funding was not more significantly reduced—or eliminated altogether, along with other parts of the President’s domestic agenda, such as free community college.
Revamped Build Back Better plan a win for CBC: The revised legislative framework of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan represents a major win for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), The Hill reports. Black legislators, determined to hold the White House accountable for promises made to Black communities, saw many of the key priorities of the CBC—such as HBCU funding, affordable housing, and universal childcare and pre-K—included in the plan.
Black congressional representation at risk in California: At least one of only two U.S. House seats in Los Angeles held by African Americans could be at risk, the Los Angeles Times reports. The impending loss of a congressional seat in the aftermath of the 2020 Census, a declining Black population, and the decision of Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) to not seek reelection as she mounts a run for mayor of Los Angeles, are prompting fears that her district may no longer be represented by an African American as congressional boundaries are redrawn.
Upcoming congressional hearings include “The Community College Pipeline to Small Businesses” (House Small Business Subcommittee On Innovation and Workforce Development, Nov. 4); “The Texas Abortion Ban and Its Devastating Impact on Communities and Families” (House Judiciary Committee, Nov. 4); “Hearings To Examine The Road Ahead for the COVID-19 Response” (Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Nov. 4); “Closing The Courthouse Doors: The Injustice of Forced Arbitration Agreements” (House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health Employment Labor and Pensions, Nov. 4).
The Joint Center and the Black Economic Alliance issued a letter to the Biden Administration encouraging them to appoint multiple Black candidates to Federal Reserve leadership positions that will be filled in the coming months. The letter was signed by leaders from several Black-led organizations, who urged the President to take a necessary step in delivering on his promises to Black Americans by reversing the historic trend of excluding Black candidates from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President and Director Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued a statement congratulating Jia Cobb on her confirmation by the United States Senate to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Cobb is only the fourth Black woman ever appointed to this Court.
The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights issued a statement in support of U.S. Senate confirmation of Judge Michael Nachmanoff to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
National Urban League President Marc Morial released a statement describing President Joe Biden’s revised Build Back Better framework as a “down payment on a historic investment in a prosperous future” for Americans, while urging Congress to pass the bill “at the earliest opportunity.” The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights also issued a statement citing President Biden’s updated Build Back Better framework as increasing healthcare access and advancing racial equity.
Leaders of the nation’s top civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League, released a joint readout after meeting with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), urging the legislator to use every means, including overriding the filibuster, to protect voting rights.
Citing a failure to protect Black users and communities, Color of Change released a statement urging federal government regulation of Big Tech companies in the wake of reports detailing “The Facebook Papers.” The racial justice organization’s release also calls on Congress to pursue anti-trust legislation, among other measures, to reign in Facebook and other major tech companies.
Upcoming events include the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s inaugural National Racial Equity Initiative Summit, 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Nov. 4.