From the first day in office and every day since, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken a historic approach to advancing racial equity, including directing every agency across the whole of the federal government to address the lasting impacts of systemic racism on Black communities. For generations, entrenched disparities in our society and economy, at times facilitated by the federal government, have made it harder for Black Americans to have a fair shot at the American dream. Centuries of injustice and decades of disinvestment in Black communities not only undermine the American promise of equal opportunity, but also keep our entire nation from reaching its potential.
Nearly one year in, the Administration has delivered real and lasting change for Black Americans.
Economic Opportunity for Black Families and Communities. By signing into law the historic American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and implementing robust regulatory reform, President Biden has helped create new economic opportunities for Black Americans and made long overdue investments in Black communities. The ARP has expanded access to wealth creation through small business ownership in Black communities, and President Biden has directed agencies to increase the share of federal contracting from small disadvantaged businesses, including Black-owned businesses, by over 50% by 2025. Under President Biden, federal agencies are now working to ensure that projects proposed for federal funding are reviewed for disparate impacts before they are awarded and that federal funding does not go to grant applicants with a record of racial discrimination. These transformative policies and programs include:
- Providing Immediate Relief to Black People and Families through the American Rescue Plan. The ARP provides cash relief directly to low- and middle-income Americans, and has cut Black child poverty by 30.2%, lifting more than 1 million Black children out of poverty in October alone. In addition, the ARP increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% through September 2021. Through the ARP, the President has reduced food insecurity in Black households – which had been double the white household rate – between one-fourth and one-third since early July.
- Reversing Decades of Disinvestment Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. For years, politicians have talked about investing in our national infrastructure, but up until now they have failed to follow through. The lack of investment has fallen most heavily on Black and other communities of color. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will replace lead pipes, increase access to good-paying jobs, expand affordable high-speed internet, reliable public transit, clean drinking water, reconnect Black neighborhoods divided by legacy highway infrastructure and other resources to finally give Black communities a fair shot at the American Dream.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law permanently authorizes the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) for the first time since its inception and elevates the agency head to the position of Under Secretary, granting the agency expanded power to support Black and other minority-owned businesses. The President’s Build Back Better Act would supercharge MBDA by funding it at $1.6 billion through 2029.
- EPA announced that it will allocate $2.9 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to states, Tribes, and territories for lead service line replacement in 2022. The 2022 allocation is the first of five years of nearly $15 billion in dedicated EPA funding for lead service lines that states will receive through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA will encourage states to use these funds to advance proactive lead line replacement programs with a particular focus on disadvantaged communities. Moving forward, EPA will prioritize communities with the highest lead levels and those with environmental justice concerns.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mine land, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells. More than one in four Black Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site– a higher percentage than for Americans overall. No community deserves to have contamination near where they live, work, play, pray, and go to school.
- Leveraging Federal Procurement to Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap for Black Entrepreneurs and Families. Recognizing that the federal government spends more than $650 billion each year on purchasing goods and services, President Biden has directed agencies to use federal purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses, including Black-owned businesses, by 50%, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams. The Administration recently announced reforms to the federal procurement process to meet the President’s ambitious target and deliver new opportunities for Black owned and other small disadvantaged businesses.
- Extending a Lifeline to Struggling Small Businesses. The American Rescue Plan provided emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses – including Black businesses – so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe. This includes a Small Business Opportunity Fund to provide growth capital to main street small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses.
- Ensuring Black Homeowners Get Full Value for their Homes. In June, President Biden directed the launch of a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and conduct rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination. The effort, led by the Department of Housing and Urban Dev
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