On Monday, White House supporters brought the debate over the $2-trillion infrastructure and American Jobs Plan to Chattanooga as a part of their third district forums.
“Prices have gone up in nearly every market, inventory is at record lows,” said the former Obama HUD Chief of Staff Laurel Blatchford. “This is something that has been harder for people than ever before."
She and former Chattanooga City Finance Officer David Eichenthal held the discussion and said jobs and housing go hand in hand.
They discussed President Biden’s proposed $2-trillion American Jobs Plan that they said would help Americans struggling with housing.
The first round of assistance was passed and signed last month.
The American Rescue Plan makes $1.9 trillion taxpayer dollars available as Covid-19 relief, in which Chattanooga will receive nearly $3-million.
The American Jobs Plan, if passed, would be a second round of stimulus under the Biden Administration.
"Part of the funding from the federal government would be dedicated to the new construction of affordable housing,” said Eichenthal.
Roya Evans, the Executive Director for Chattanooga Community Housing said that is part of the issue contributing to the lack of affordable housing.
"If we have more money then we will be able to do it. Otherwise we are going to go under,” she said.
The forum was organized to urge voters to tell their representatives to support the measure.
Tennessee 3rd District U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann told Channel 3, he vehemently opposed the bill.
“It’s a social justice bill loaded with unnecessary spending,” said Fleischmann.
He added that he fears it could cause inflation and said it would put the country further into debt. He and many other House Republicans are opposed to the bill.
"It is clear that this bill is dead upon arrival,” said Fleischmann.
Eichenthal calls the bill vital and emphasized the money would be well spent.
"When the federal government funds programs in Tennessee it actually relieves local taxpayers here to spend money on those programs,” he said.
Congressman Fleischmann said he and his colleagues have to come up with respective bills that can address the affordable housing issue without spending the proposed amount of the American Jobs Plan.
That could mean using just the money from the formal fiscal budget for 2022, which is currently being worked on.