Biden proposes $640 billion housing plan

The presidential candidate calls for a national “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights”


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden proposed a $640 billion housing plan on Monday aimed at improving affordability, ending discrimination, protecting consumers and improving energy efficiency.


The plan comes five days before the South Carolina primary, set for Feb. 29, and just over a week before the March 3 “Super Tuesday” primaries when 14 states – including California, where affordable housing is a hot topic – will vote.


Several other candidates, including Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg, have also released housing plans this month.


Biden’s housing proposal would restore several Obama administration anti-discrimination housing policies rolled back by President Donald Trump, including strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability to enforce settlements against lenders found to have engaged in discriminatory practices.


Biden’s plan also establishes a series of national protective measures called a “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights,” modeled on legislation passed in California with the same name.


“This new Bill of Rights will prevent mortgage brokers from leading borrowers into loans that cost more than appropriate, prevent mortgage servicers from advancing a foreclosure when the homeowner is in the process of receiving a loan modification, give homeowners a private right of action to seek financial redress from mortgage lenders and servicers that violate these protections, and give borrowers the right to a timely notification on the status of their loan modifications and to be able to appeal modification denials,” the Biden plan said.


The plan lays out six “Biden principles for housing”: affordability, stability, safety/health, accessibility, energy efficiency/resilience and proximity to good schools and jobs.

“Far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing,” the plan said. “Nationwide, we have a shortage of available, affordable housing units for low-income individuals. Tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing – leaving them with nowhere near enough money left over to meet other needs, from groceries to prescription drugs. And, tens of millions of Americans live in homes that endanger their health and safety.”


The proposals are paid for by raising taxes on corporations and large financial institutions, Biden said in a statement.


“About $300 billion of the housing plan is devoted to new construction and is encompassed in the $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan,” the statement said. “The remaining portion is paid for by instituting a financial fee on certain liabilities of firms with over $50 billion in assets.”


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