Who’s Worse on Housing, Trump or Biden?
President Donald Trump’s pitch to the suburban voters he badly needs is that he saved their neighborhoods from destructive housing policies that a Joe Biden administration would reinstate and expand.
“Suburban women, will you please like me?” said Trump at a rally in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday. “I saved your damn neighborhood.”
It’s not a new pitch. Since this summer, the president has been touting the fact that his administration scrapped an Obama-era fair housing rule. That rule, he argues, would force low-income housing into tranquil suburbs; should Biden win in November, he says, that will be reversed.
“Biden supports Cory Booker’s Bill that will force low income housing in the Suburbs, which will lower property values and bring crime to your neighborhoods,” tweeted Trump last week. “If Dems win, GOODBYE SUBURBS!”
So how exactly would a President Joe Biden eliminate the suburbs?
The bill Trump is referencing is the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act, sponsored in 2019 by Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.). It would attach conditions to block grants from the federal Community Development and Surface Transportation, requiring states to implement strategies for making housing more affordable and “inclusive.”
Biden’s housing platform endorses the HOME Act. It also says that he would direct his transportation and housing secretaries to identify other federal grant programs that can be amended to require states and localities to amend their zoning codes.
The HOME Act would require recipients of federal housing and transportation funds to file strategic plans and annual progress reports detailing “transformative activities” they’ve taken to “reduce barriers to housing development, including affordable housing, and increase housing supply affordability and elasticity.”
The bill offers a detailed menu of policies that states and localities could adopt to boost affordable housing production, including removing restrictions on multi-family housing, eliminating off-street parking requirements, shortening permitting timelines, and removing height limits on new construction.
It is this—encouraging new construction in tightly regulated areas—that Trump calls the death of the suburbs that Trump. It’s also an approach some f
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