On Tuesday, Former Vice President Joe Biden released his proposal to address systemic racism in the U.S. economy.
The plan is the fourth and final pillar of his “Build Back Better” agenda for economic recovery amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“Biden believes we cannot build back better without a major mobilization of effort and resources to address these challenges and to advance racial equity across the American economy,” the campaign proposal says. “Biden will remove barriers to participation in our economy, expand access to opportunity, and fully enforce the policies and laws that we already have on the books — and the pledges Biden has made in this campaign.”
Here are key parts of his plan to advance racial equity in America.
Bolstering Small Businesses Opportunities for Minority Communities
Biden plans to devote $30 billion — 10% of the $300 billion in innovation funding to stimulate the economy — to a new small business opportunity fund. The proposal suggests the investment would yield $150 billion in venture capital and low-interest business loans to help Black and Brown business owners.
As President, Biden would triple the federal goal for contracting with all small disadvantaged businesses from 5 percent to a minimum of 15 percent of all federal procurement dollars by 2025.
Affordable Housing and Homeownership
Biden proposes a $15,000 refundable tax credit to help low- and middle-income families offset the costs of buying a home for the first time. He plans to invest in the construction of 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and public housing units to address the affordable housing crisis and reduce the racial wealth gap. He will work to enact legislation to eliminate housing regulations that often perpetuate discrimination.
Equity in Higher Education
Student debt burdens are unequal across races, disproportionately hurting Black and Latino graduates. Biden has introduced a sweeping plan to provide relief from student loan debt which includes in the COVID-19 response an immediate cancellation of a minimum of $10,000 of federal student loan debt.
Biden also plans to make public colleges and universities, as well as private Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, tuition-free for all families with incomes below $125,000.
Equity in Agriculture
Black, Brown, and Indigenous farmers have historically faced barriers and discrimination in growing their agricultural businesses. As President, Biden plans to assist in both the purchase of farmland and the ability of Black, Brown, and Indigenous farmers to keep that land by providing credit and technical support. He hopes to establish an Equity Commission and a Farmland Trust to support new farmers and ranchers from underrepresented low-income communities.
Biden also commits to expanding protections for farmworkers, including paid sick time and the enforcement of safety rules, which are critical as the economy reopens while the pandemic continues.
Many of the policy proposals in his racial equity plan have been released earlier by the campaign, overlapping with the other three pillars of “Build Back Better” agenda, including a major expansion of access to child care, a $2 trillion climate plan, and a boost to manufacturing.
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