Urge Congress to Prioritize CDFIs in Historic Build Back Better Proposal

J.K. Phenix

Over the last few months, Congressional Democrats have been developing legislation that would implement the Biden-Harris Administration’s sweeping federal spending proposals outlined in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. As mentioned in our recent blog post, Washington officials are planning to pass these historic proposals through a reconciliation bill later this year.

OFN is pleased to see both Congress and the White House embrace the critical role of CDFIs in strengthening America’s physical and financial infrastructure. The Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan includes funding for several CDFI industry priorities that would provide billions of dollars of new investments in affordable housing, small business, and community facilities. These priorities include the creation of a $9.4 billion Housing Investment Fund at the CDFI Fund, a new $7.5 billion Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and making the New Markets Tax Credit and Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Advantage program permanent, among other historic provisions. 

Despite CDFIs’ importance to the economic recovery, ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill may threaten many of these programs in the final Build Back Better legislation. Specifically, President Biden announced that the Build Back Better plan is expected to be in the range of $1.9 trillion to $2.3 trillion compared to the initial $3.5 trillion framework this week. That said, lawmakers are set to eliminate provisions to fit this newly proposed guidance, putting some of the CDFI industry’s priorities at risk.

In order for our communities to properly build back better, CDFIs must remain a prioritized focus for policymakers constructing this once-in-a-generation human infrastructure package. With negotiations ongoing, there is still time for the CDFI industry to weigh in on our priorities for the infrastructure package.

Contact your Member of Congress today to ensure CDFIs are included in these historic federal investments!

The path forward for the legislation remains unclear. With only weeks before the end of the legislative session, Congress must navigate a deeply partisan environment to pass the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, and finalize FY22 government funding and raise the debt ceiling.

Learn more about OFN’s priorities for the infrastructure and reconciliation packages.

OFN will continue to closely monitor negotiations on Capitol Hill and advocate for provisions that would spur investment in low-wealth communities. For more information on OFN’s infrastructure advocacy, contact Dafina Williams, SVP, Public Policy at OFN.

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