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VP Candidate Viewpoints: Harris and Pence’s Housing Perspectives

As the country faces a housing shortage as well as a fast-approaching presidential election, whichever party ends up in the White House in 2021 is going to have a significant impact on housing.

Although the vice-presidential candidates did not speak specifically about housing during their debate last Wednesday, it is worth looking into what each candidate could mean for the housing market.

According to an expert from realtor.com, the VP candidates’ positions on housing are essentially in alignment with each of their political parties.

"[Pence] is very much more of a fiscally conservative proponent of property rights” George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com, said. “[Harris] is a lot more focused on the affordability issues, which are particularly pressing in the current environment."

Although there isn’t too much to glean from Vice President Pence’s housing history from his time in Congress or as governor of Indiana, (he did not take part in any major housing plans in either role) his ideas on housing are generally conservative, leaning more towards less government oversight.

While he was governor, Pence did sign a piece of legislature in 2015 that took some responsibility off of banks from having to maintain their foreclosed properties and also eased the process of declaring vacant properties.

According to realtor.com, President Trump has “capped mortgage deductions and property taxes, advocated for privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and did away with a rule that would have required many suburbs to become more racially diverse.”

Pence has backed the president in his housing policies.

During his time in Congress, Pence has consistently voted against policies regarding more government intervention in housing. For example, in 2010 he voted against funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to be used for providing legal services to Americans dealing with foreclosures during the Great Recession.

Pence did support helping first-time home buyers by extending a home buyer tax credit “of 10% of the purchase price of a home up to $8,000.”

As for Kamala Harris, her take on housing is clear from her history as the San Francisco attorney general and later as the state attorney general.

In the past, she has made plans meant to make housing more affordable and provide struggling Americans with more government assistance. During her run for president, she proposed a $100 billion plan to help more Black Americans purchase homes. The plan aims address the racial wealth divide by providing federal grants to prospective buyers in historically redlined communities and strengthen anti-discrimination laws in homeownership and renting process.

Harris supported a bill to over $100 billion of government funds in affordable housing last November. As the pandemic continued to cause housing hardships for Americans this summer, Harris put forth legislation to the Senate to stop evictions and foreclosures for a year. She also tried to establish refundable tax credits for those who had housing costs that made up more than 30% of their income.

There is no doubt that both vice presidential candidates have distinct views on housing that speak volumes about how their individual parties could impact the country.

About Author: Cristin Espinosa

Cristin Espinosa is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. She has a broadcast background as well, serving as a producer for SMU-TV. She wrote for the food section during her fellowship at The Dallas Morning News and has also contributed to Advocate Magazine and The Dallas Observer.
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