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VP Debate Brings Civility And Little Else

A red podium and a blue podium on a lit stage

On October 7, Americans were treated to a Vice Presidential debate characterized by respect and maturity. This follows a Presidential debate where argument took precedent over substantive policy debate. The uninformative nature of the first Presidential debate, coupled with the potential cancellation of future debates, highlighted the significance of Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris going toe-to-toe.

With the recent announcement that the next Presidential debate will be held virtually on October 15, the VP debate was likely the last chance voters would see representatives of either campaign challenge each other face-to-face. It should be noted that Joe Biden has accepted the new virtual format, while President Trump has refused to participate

Vice President Pence and Sen. Harris’ debate was, at times, a model in debate decorum. But for American renters and those who work in the rental housing industry, many questions were left unanswered. Yes, Sen. Harris did acknowledge that American renters are hurting due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and that many, through no fault of their own, are unable to pay rent. But neither Sen. Harris, nor Vice President Pence, explicitly suggested the need for robust emergency rental assistance, let alone any remedy at all. The stalled COVID-19 relief negotiations in Congress went undiscussed at a time when all Americans need support to move their lives and businesses forward. Robust emergency rental assistance is the only way to keep people in their homes and ensure housing providers are able to meet their own financial obligations.

During the debate, the Biden campaign missed the opportunity to address concerns over one of its most prominent policies: their climate plan. The plan’s ambitious goals include a 50 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of all U.S. buildings by 2035. According to its website, the plan will incentivize property owners to make energy-efficient retrofits to their properties. Owners and operators must know what resources will be available to them in order to comply with the plan’s goals and ensure that housing remains safe, healthy, and affordable. The National Apartment Association hopes that Biden will seek out stakeholder input from all sides when discussing policy solutions.

Throughout the election cycle, housing has taken a backseat despite its critical importance to Americans. With fewer than 30 days until the election, renters and housing providers must look closely at the fragments that have been discussed and each candidate’s record on the issue. Quite literally, the future of housing depends on it.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) will provide ongoing coverage of the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle highlighting its importance to the rental housing industry. For more information on the 2020 Presidential Election, please contact NAA Manager of Public Policy, Sam Gilboard