On The Money – The housing plan hangs by a thread

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Democratic dreams of spending billions of dollars to expand affordable housing could fall with the rest of President Biden’s economic plan.

Today, we’ll also look at a failed vote to unionize an Amazon sorting facility, a bright outlook for the US labor market, and tough decisions about aid to Ukraine.

But first, Meghan Markle is the latest victim of Netflix budget cuts.

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Housing push threatened as Build Back Better wilts

The path forward for the critical housing investments that Democrats sought to protect in the Build Back Better Act (BBB) ​​becomes murky, as uncertainty looms over the party’s chances of passing its partisan package despite the resistance of Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) .

While there have been rumblings among Democrats of another race for a reconciliation package that can win the support of leading moderate resisters like Manchin or Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), those who are aware of the discussions have sought to clarify that they are just that: talking.

  • Coming out of a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) last week, Manchin said any plan for a reconciliation package should aim “to get inflation under control, to pay down that debt , to control what is happening”. But when asked where previously proposed housing investments would fit into such a vehicle, Manchin told The Hill that “there are no formal talks.”
  • Advocates warn that the stakes are too high for Democrats not to take meaningful action on housing through reconciliation. Failure to do so would ignore a crisis they say is straining American families as the gap between housing costs and wages widens amid tight supply.

The background: Democrats grabbed headlines last year after unveiling proposals for historic $300 billion investments in affordable housing, seen by supporters as potentially transformative in tackling the housing crisis, including increasing the financing of housing assistance and the construction of social housing.

  • But as intraparty disagreements arose over the size of the plan, a core part of President Biden’s agenda, the price of housing investments began to fall sharply, as they did in other areas of the high-profile agenda. Funding earmarked for housing was cut nearly in half in the House-passed version of the climate and social spending plan last year.
  • And it remains to be seen whether the same reach of housing investments will be in any other effort the party makes this year during a package passed via budget reconciliation, a complicated procedure that will allow Democrats to circumvent a GOP filibuster in the Senate equally divided.

Aris has more here.

FAILED SECOND VOTE

Amazon workers in Staten Island vote against unionization

Workers at an Amazon factory in Staten Island, New York, voted against unionization, the first defeat in a nascent campaign to organize the e-commerce giant’s U.S. locations.

Of the approximately 1,600 workers at the LDJ5 sorting facility, 618 voted against representation by the Amazon Labor Union. Three hundred and eighty voted to unionize, with two ballots declared invalid.

“We are pleased that our team at LDJ5 was able to make their voices heard,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel. “We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to improve every day for our employees.”

  • The vote comes after workers at another Amazon facility on Staten Island voted last month to unionize in a historic moment for the labor movement.
  • The Amazon Labor Union was heavily invested in the warehouse’s first vote, giving organizers a narrow window to garner support at the nearby facility.
  • The union has signaled that it will challenge the results of the LDJ5 election, as Amazon did for JFK8.

Chris Mills Rodrigo from The Hill has more here.

The $33 billion question

Senate Democrats are nearing a decision point on how to handle the administration’s request for tens of billions of dollars in new aid to Ukraine.

  • The Biden administration formally unveiled the $33 billion request last week, sending the matter back to Congress, where Democrats will have to decide whether or not to tie it to stalled coronavirus aid.
  • With the House absent for the week, the focus will be on Senate Democrats, where Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) has yet to give his hand sign.

The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) have both linked coronavirus aid to the new round of Ukraine-related assistance, arguing that they are both priorities that must pass. quickly in Congress.

But tying aid to Ukraine and coronavirus aid could slow his run in the Senate, where Republicans are reluctant to support a bill with both.

Jordan Carney explains here.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

The US labor market will recover all jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of August, according to a new analysis

The Fitch Ratings report, first obtained by CNN on Monday, said it is “likely that all jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic will be fully recovered by the third quarter of 2022,” which begins in July.

The report notes, however, that the recovery has not been equal across states. All states except Hawaii and Louisiana have recovered at least 70% of the jobs lost during the height of the pandemic.

  • Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Georgia are among 13 states that have already returned to pre-pandemic employment levels.
  • But the Fitch report noted that labor shortages will continue to plague employers, especially in Nebraska, Utah and Montana, where the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed was three times higher than what than it was before the pandemic.

Monique Beals from The Hill has more here.

Good to know

The Department of Energy on Monday announced a $3.16 billion grant program to help domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries.

The funding, provided through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, comes as part of research predicting increased demand for electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries. Research from the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries indicates that the lithium battery market will grow by a factor of 5 to 10 over the next 10 years.

Here’s what else we’ve got our eyes on:

  • A watchdog group alleged on Monday that the largest donation to a super PAC aligned with former President Trump was made illegally.
  • AP: “Germany and India on Monday signed a series of bilateral agreements focused on sustainable development that will see the South Asian nation receive $10.5 billion in aid by 2030 to boost economic growth. use of clean energy.
  • A bipartisan group of senators is calling on President Biden to conclude an investigation into solar panel imports as soon as possible.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finances page for the latest news and coverage. Well see you tomorrow.

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