WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Oregon, California, and many other states across the U.S. confront an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are leading a major push to ensure that comprehensive housing investments stay in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
The three senators were joined in their push by more than two dozen Senate colleagues: U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
“The Build Back Better plan is a rare opportunity to deliver critical investments that we have failed to make for far too long,” the senators wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Housing challenges are different in every community, and we need different tools to address the growing problems they face. But with comprehensive investments, we can create, preserve, and improve millions of homes so that we bring down the cost of housing and improve its condition. And an investment in safe, affordable housing is central to the success of proposed investments in education, health, and our local economies. At the same time, investments in sustainable, energy-efficient housing can lower families’ bills, make our homes and communities more resilient to climate-driven disasters, and reduce our impact on the planet—all while creating good paying jobs.”
The senators noted that housing is the most expensive item in most families’ budget, and that more than 10 million families spend more than half their income on housing each month. As the Build Back Better plan moves through Congress in the coming weeks, this moment represents a unique opportunity to reverse these trends and improve the day-to-day economic realities for millions of families across America.