Fudge on housing funds in reconciliation: ‘We can’t live in the past’

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better package includes almost $150 billion devoted to remedying inequities left by the country’s history of discriminatory housing practices. If a bill passes the Senate includes that amount, it would be historic.

Marcia L. Fudge, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has been sharing the message about infrastructure investments that include public housing rehabilitation and rental vouchers, and what it would all mean for American families. Fudge joined a recent episode of CQ Roll Call’s podcast Equal Time to discuss the issue further.

A transcript, edited for clarity and brevity, appears below.

BLACK ISSUES FORUM: Omicron Variant, Voting Rights Scorecard, Self-Care Tips

With the Omicron COVID-19 variant now detected in the states, Dr. Julius Wilder provides information on protection. Professor Irving Joyner and Mary C. Curtis discuss the voting rights scorecard on senators issued by an NAACP-led coalition. The Confidence Coach, Jason Phillips, shares tips for engaging self-care to achieve peace and joy amid today’s disturbing news and social distractions.

What do the battle against omicron and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge have in common?

Equity is top of mind this week. First, the omicron variant is now the topic of global conversation. How the story unfolded in the U.S. illuminates how disparity and racism are intrinsic to keeping the virus evolving. Harvard University public health expert Dr. Ingrid Katz speaks with Mary C. Curtis about how global vaccine equity is the only way through this pandemic and the only path to preparing for the next. Then we feature a conversation with Housing Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge about housing, infrastructure and reconciliation.

Wanted this holiday season: More wise men and women on the Hill

Any true connoisseur of “A Christmas Carol” would rank Alistair Sim’s 1951 star turn at the top of the list. It’s impossible to resist sharing the sheer joy of his Ebenezer Scrooge, waking up to discover he’s been given a second chance to become a human being, one who can make the world a better place with generosity and kindness. And he gets something out of the deal, as well.

Cue the happy ending and lessons learned.

For this holiday season, a remake is in order, with Scrooge a sucker for falling for Bob Cratchit’s tale of woe. A raise? Times are tough, or haven’t you heard how many people would love to have that clerk job. The greedy Jacob Marley may not be loved, but he sure would be admired, perhaps even praised, for accumulating as much wealth as possible in this life, with little regard for his soul in the next.

And what’s that hiding under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? Not Ignorance and Want, which come with a warning of harm if these societal ills are ignored. But instead, sacks filled with fraudulent mail-in ballots from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The point of so many holiday tales, when you think of it, hinges on transformation — that moment when the protagonist opens his or her heart. Think of the Grinch, whose actual heart seems to grow three sizes when he hears the gift-less residents of Whoville raising their voices in glorious song.

Why Marc Morial is ‘damn worried’ about the state of American democracy

The new infrastructure law and the larger budget reconciliation bill that are part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda have pushed the issue of voting rights out of the spotlight.

This comes after the Senate blocked debate on a bill named after the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, which would restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that have been struck down by the Supreme Court since 2013. Vice President Kamala Harris recently called the right to vote the cornerstone of our democracy. As states across the country enact restrictive voting laws, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has insisted that voting rights legislation is a priority, even if it means eliminating the filibuster. But it’s unclear whether there’s enough support for taking that step.

Now, civil rights groups have issued a scorecard that rates every senator on their records on voting rights and their willingness to end the filibuster.

One of the organizations behind the move is the National Urban League. CEO Marc Morial recently joined the Equal Time podcast to offer his take on voting rights, democracy and even infrastructure.

A transcript, edited for clarity and brevity:

Local News Roundup: Mecklenburg mask mandate continues; Gov. Cooper will sign NC budget into law; Cam Newton’s return a roaring success

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

Mecklenburg County has not managed to keep its COVID-19 positivity rate low enough for long enough to remove the county mask mandate. We’ll get an update on where the county stands on COVID-19 trends and hospitalizations.

Gov. Roy Cooper says he’ll sign the North Carolina legislature’s budget bill into law, noting that it’s a compromise, but that the good “outweighs the bad.”

Hundreds of parents from Hopewell High School gathered at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools town hall this week in Huntersville after an incident where guns were found at the school. We’ll discuss what they had to say about how they wanted to see the school district address safety for students.

And Cam Newton is BAAACK. His first game back in a Carolina Panthers uniform last week was a roaring success, and he helped the team put a W on the board. Can he do it again, and will he be the starting QB this week?

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories, updates on county commission and city council, and all the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Katie Peralta Soloff, reporter for Axios Charlotte
Steve HarrisonWFAE’s political reporter
Joe BrunoWSOC-TV reporter

The demeaning of ‘woke’ — or when attention to injustice becomes too much

Endesha Ida Mae Holland smiled as she recounted the events of the Mississippi voter registration movement for the 1994 documentary “Freedom on My Mind.” That movement, from 1961 to 1964, was marked by the bravery of activists and the violence meted out by those who felt threatened by the very idea of Black citizens exercising their fundamental rights.

Holland’s upbringing as a young African American in Mississippi, her work in the struggle and the retaliation that followed had left her unprepared for her first encounter at a Southern lunch counter following the passage of civil rights laws she fought so hard for. She said that when the clerk politely greeted her, it was so overwhelming and appreciated, she ordered everything on the menu, just to experience the balm of kind words covering her again and again.

At the close of Freedom Summer — only a few years after a Black farmer who tried to register to vote was shot and killed by a Mississippi state representative, who got away with it — respect seemed a triumph to someone whose humanity had been denied for so long.

Remember the phrase “political correctness”? It’s not so in vogue these days, mostly because it has outlived its usefulness.

I remember when it was all the rage, an effort to reframe any rude and insensitive lout as a bold rule-breaker. My feelings about all the fuss? Despite protests to the contrary, there was never a prohibition against making rude remarks, no law that punished anyone who chucked racist or misogynistic or homophobic comments toward acquaintances or perfect strangers or who viewed the world through a lens of hardened stereotypes.

‘What has come of America?’

Civil rights leader and National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial says he is “damn worried” about the state of American democracy. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Morial to talk about voting rights, infrastructure, the filibuster and so much more.

Local News Roundup: Election recap; mask mandate update; children’s vaccines; guns found at Hopewell High

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

Election Day was Tuesday with many local offices on the ballot around Mecklenburg County. We’ll go over some of the key wins in the region and the impact those wins may have.

Guns found at Huntersville’s Hopewell High School prompt conversations about safety at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners discuss the future of the county’s mask mandate, as questions are raised about the metrics being used to calculate COVID-19 positivity rates in the county.

Vaccines have been approved for children ages 5-11 and are already available in the Charlotte region.

CMS is weathering news of another sexual assault allegation — this time, one that resulted in a suspension for the student reporting the assault.

And the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit against Colonial Pipeline for the largest gasoline spill in state history, which happened in Huntersville last year.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

  • Nick OchsnerWBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter
  • Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
  • Claire DonnellyWFAE health reporter
  • Joe BrunoWSOC-TV reporter

Virginia Elections Recap

If you’ve never seen a political pummeling on election day before… you now know what one looks like.  All you have to do is turn to Virginia’s election results.  Republicans ran the board from the governor’s race all the way to the house and have the political clout to do pretty much what they want once they take office.  What happened and why?