Washington D.C. Update: President Biden’s Racial Equity & Diversity Plan

Washington D.C. Update: President Biden’s Racial Equity & Diversity Plan

In his inaugural address, President Biden called for an end to partisan rancor saying “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

One of President Biden’s top priorities is achieving equity and an end to systemic racism through his policies and his new government. He aims to implement that agenda by working to deliver criminal justice reform, equal access to healthcare, education, and housing, and restoring Federal respect for Tribal sovereignty. This includes rolling back several of former President Trump’s initiatives. President Biden faces several roadblocks to achieving his goals thanks to the Democrats’ razor-thin margins in Congress. Even the changes he can implement through executive orders may not be evident for some time.

What we know:

  • Biden plans to reintroduce diversity training across federal agencies and contractors after Trump had put a halt to the program.
  • Biden will direct every federal agency to review its operations for potentially discriminatory policies and develop a plan to address those disparities within 200 days. The directive doesn’t include specific parameters on how that would work.
  • The government will create a new “equitable data working group” to assess federal data, often used in allocating resources, to ensure it accurately reflects diversity in America. The Administration also will ensure the U.S. Census has time to complete an accurate nationwide count to ensure federal resources are “efficiently and fairly distributed.”
  • Biden will direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to more equitably allocate federal resources to support communities of color and other marginalized groups. The order doesn’t include financial metrics. OMB manages the federal budget, coordinates interagency operations, and reviews policies to ensure they’re in line with the president’s goals.
  • The Administration will direct all agencies to take all lawful steps to adopt rules reflecting recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings to protect LGBTQ rights, which would mean rescinding certain Trump-era rules limiting such protections.
  • Biden will order an immediate halt to border wall construction and rescission of anti-immigrant policies. The Administration will also move to protect Dreamers – children of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – in addition to ending the travel ban on majority-Muslim countries.

President Biden’s Build Back Better plan aims to improve racial equity by empowering Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American small businesses. The plan would bolster minority-owned small business opportunities, reform “opportunity zones,” invest in affordable housing and homeownership, and expand access to resources for entrepreneurs of color.

President Biden’s racial equity plan would devote $30 billion — 10% of the $300 billion research and development portion of his stimulus proposal — to a new small business opportunity fund.

The housing plan includes an up-to-$15,000 refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers to combat racial inequality in housing markets. It also includes funding to construct 1.5 million homes and public housing units, and would eliminate discriminatory housing regulations.

The plan also provides student debt relief and would eliminate tuition costs for public colleges and universities, and private historically Black schools and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), for families with incomes under $125,000.

President Biden’s Plan aims to:

  • Spur Public-Private Investment through a New Small Business Opportunity Plan
  • Reform Opportunity Zones
  • Make Historic Commitments to Equalizing Federal Procurement
  • Make Bold Investments in Homeownership and Access to Affordable Housing for Black, Brown, and Native Families
  • Achieve Equity in Management, Training, and Higher Education Opportunities Connected to the Jobs of the Future
  • Boost Retirement Security and Financial Wealth for Black, Brown, and Native Families
  • Ensure Workers of Color Are Compensated Fairly and Treated With Dignity
  • Ensure Equity in Biden’s Bold Infrastructure and Clean Energy Investments
  • Support Second Chances for Economic Success
  • Strengthen the Federal Reserve’s Focus on Racial Economic Gaps
  • Promote Diversity and Accountability in Leadership Across Key Positions in All Federal Agencies
  • Build a 21st Century Care Infrastructure
  • Address Longstanding Inequities in Agriculture

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.