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Biden Pledges $100 Billion to Fight 'Systemic Racism'

President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a $100 billion effort to combat “systemic racism” during a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racially motivated violence in United States history.

Biden will be the first sitting president to honor the anniversary of the incident, which left hundreds of African Americans killed or injured and razed one of the most successful black neighborhoods in the country at the time to the ground. He will also use the event, planned for Tuesday afternoon, to announce major changes to federal housing policy, and a massive new “inter-agency effort” at combatting systemic racism in the housing industry and beyond.

“The White House announced a slate of policies meant to promote racial equity ahead of the trip,” USA Today reported Tuesday.

“That includes a new inter-agency effort meant to combat housing discrimination, as well as new directives that will increase federal contracting with small, minority-owned businesses by $100 billion over the next five years.”

The grants will be on top of millions of taxpayer dollars, earmarked to address systemic racism, allocated through the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response bills, and “include a $10 billion initiative targeting community revitalization efforts, projects retrofitting transit systems to redress the dislocation of minority communities, incentives to end exclusionary zoning and a new tax credit to develop low and affordable housing,” USA Today noted.

CNBC added Tuesday that Biden plans to “announce an increase in the share of federal contracts for small, disadvantaged businesses; the reversal of two Trump-era housing rules; and the launch of an initiative to address inequality in home appraisals.”

The White House released an official statement outlining the plan.

On Tuesday, Biden will announce:

The creation of an interagency initiative to address inequity in home appraisals, led by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge. “Homes and majority Black neighborhoods are often valued at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes in similar, majority white communities,” the White House said. “This effort will seek to utilize, very quickly, the many levers at the federal government’s disposal … to root out discrimination in the appraisal and home buying process.”
HUD will issue two Fair Housing Act rules that reverse efforts by HUD during the Trump administration to weaken protections afforded by the law. “In both cases, HUD is moving to return to traditional interpretations of the Fair Housing Act,” the White House said Monday. The new rules are intended to “clear the way for HUD to more vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act,” it said.
The administration will announce a goal of increasing the share of federal contracts awarded to small, disadvantaged businesses by 50% over the next five years. Currently, around 10% of federal contracts go to SDBs annually, totaling around $50 billion. An increase of 50% by 2026 would mean an additional $100 billion in federal contracts awarded to SDBs in this five year period, officials said.

The plan does not include any official movement on the issue of “racial equity” in the economy, despite requests from several high-profile progressive activist groups. It also does not address the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the White House appears to have quietly dropped, according to reports from last month. Instead, the Biden administration is reportedly hoping for a more comprehensive compromise bill.


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