If the United States continues its progress on vaccinating Americans against the coronavirus—a recent average of 3 million doses per day—then it will likely experience strong economic growth in 2021. (As much as 8 percent GDP growth according to one estimate.) But there are a number of factors that could threaten this recovery—new variants, anti-vaccine sentiment, low vaccine demand, lack of access to vaccines, disparate vaccination rates across different populations, the relaxing of mask and physical distancing guidelines and fatigue with these guidelines, and the inequitable distribution of vaccines among high-, middle- and low-income countries.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement in response to the release of the Biden-Harris administration’s FY22 discretionary funding request:

“The Biden-Harris administration’s FY22 discretionary funding request would make critical investments to boost education in low-income areas, fight climate change, advance research and development, address future global health crises, combat homelessness and gun violence and tackle other urgent needs. It offers a blueprint for building back better and stronger. I look forward to working with my colleagues to help turn this blueprint into a budget that improves the lives of American families.”

Chairman Beyer on the Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act: Enactment was Beginning of the End of an American Horror Story

In August, Chairman Beyer Spoke with Leading Housing Discrimination Expert Richard Rothstein as Part of an Ongoing Effort to Meet with Experts about Issues Affecting the Economy

Apr 08 2021

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on April 11, 1968.

In August, Chairman Beyer Spoke with Leading Housing Discrimination Expert Richard Rothstein as Part of an Ongoing Effort to Meet with Experts about Issues Affecting the Economy 

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on April 11, 1968.

The Fair Housing Act—Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968—prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) disability and family status.

Passage of the legislation was not easy—for a year, Congress failed to get the majority it needed. However, after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, President Johnson convinced Congress to pass the legislation in honor of the slain civil rights leader. The Fair Housing Act is considered the last great legislative achievement of the civil rights era.

“One of the key components of household wealth in the United States is homeownership. So it is no surprise decades of housing discrimination by federal, state and local governments, as well as the private sector, would lead to a homeownership rate for Black Americans that lags far behind the rate for white Americans, 44% versus 75%. This massive and growing gap in homeownership is a key factor driving the racial wealth gap, whereby Black families have just one-eighth the amount of wealth as white families.

“Stories about Black Americans who tried to buy homes during the early-to-mid 20th century, many of whom were veterans who had risked life and limb for their country, are heartbreaking. Because of redlining, racist restrictive covenants, racial terror and other forms of housing discrimination, the American Dream for Black Americans was always a dream deferred. This injustice not only affected their lives and livelihoods, it affected the lives and livelihoods of their children.

“Some of the worst stories are those about Black Americans who ‘bought’ homes but had to ‘buy’ them from contract sellers—predatory home mortgage lenders who were able to target those who were cut out of the legitimate home mortgage market. These lenders used underhanded tricks to put Black buyers in a position of never owning the home they had bought. For example, one missed payment could cost the buyer their down payment, monthly payments and the property itself.

“While the enactment of the Fair Housing Act was the beginning of the end of this American horror story, housing discrimination and its lasting effects are not yet a thing of the past. As Richard Rothstein, one of the leading experts on housing discrimination told me during a conversation last year, it is the government’s responsibility to remedy residential segregation and other effects of housing discrimination since it created them. I could not agree more. Congress must continue to right this historic wrong for current and future generations.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Congressman Beyer has been meeting weekly with economists and other experts about issues that affect the economy. In August, he met with Rothstein, the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, as part of the JEC’s focus on wealth inequality. Some of the remedies Rothstein advocated for during the meeting include:

  • The federal government buying homes and reselling them to Black Americans at a price that would have been affordable to their grandparents had their grandparents been able to buy. 
  • The federal government building quality housing not just for families with low incomes, but also for working-class families, and placing this housing in high-opportunity areas. There is a middle area between market-rate housing and low-income housing that needs to be filled. 
  • Prohibiting zoning ordinances at the local level that require single-family homes, specifically those on large lots. As Rothstein explained in an interview last year, “[This] effectively perpetuates the segregation because it prevents not only single-family homes on smaller lot[s], but townhouses, duplexes, low-level apartments and so forth. So the zoning ordinances don't say that they're designed to keep African Americans out, but [they do because] they perpetuate an unconstitutionally created situation.”
Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 916,000 in March and the unemployment rate fell to 6.0%. The unemployment rate was 9.6% for Black workers and 7.9% for Hispanic workers.

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement after the Senate voted by voice vote to confirm Adewale O. Adeyemo as Deputy Treasury Secretary.

Deputy Secretary Adeyemo is the first Black American to serve in this role. He will serve under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the first woman to serve in that role.

“Deputy Secretary Adeyemo brings to his new role a wealth of expertise and experience from across the executive branch, having served in a variety of key economic leadership positions. That experience includes the Department of the Treasury, where he is now the highest-ranking Black American in the Department’s history.

“Deputy Secretary Adeyemo will use the powers of the Treasury the way they should be used: to ensure our economy is working for all, not just a fortunate few. As he said during his confirmation hearing testimony, if long-term economic growth is our goal then ensuring that all Americans can share in our nation’s prosperity is not only a moral imperative it is an economic one.

“I congratulate Deputy Secretary Adeyemo on his confirmation and look forward to working with him.”