Texas Governor Greg Abbott reached his limit with the chaos President Joe Biden brought to the southern border and in a desperate move has been busing illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital since May.
Yesterday Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser went on CBS’ “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan to admit Abbott’s plan is working and DC is overwhelmed. (See video below)
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the more startling numbers from last week’s Consumer Price Index was the cost of rent, which is soaring at the fastest pace in 36 years. Here in the nation’s capital, average home rental costs have jumped more than 11 percent in just the past year. The national rate is nearly 6 percent. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has made the push for affordable housing a part of her agenda. And she joins us. Good morning, Mayor.
MURIEL BOWSER (D-Washington D.C. Mayor): Good morning. Thanks for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I want to ask you, “The New York Times” had this piece on the housing crisis and homelessness in America and it highlighted D.C. as just one of those cities that has just persistently not had enough housing to meet demand.
You’ve been working on reducing homelessness. Is the prime issue supply?
MURIEL BOWSER: Well, we’ve been working on creating affordable housing and producing more and preserving more. And we are among the jurisdictions, I would say, that lead the nation in being a local partner in production. So, just in the last seven years we’ve invested more than $1.4 billion in doing exactly that.
We’re equally invested in making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in our city. And we have a plan to get there. We’ve seen our rates of family homelessness, for example, decrease by 78 percent. Chronic homelessness also. We’re attacking and driving those numbers down for most categories.
So, what we see is, in a city like ours, where people want to live and want to work, that we always have to be producing more housing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I’m wondering then, in an environment where we are now where interest rates are going up, is that discouraging builders from producing what you need? Do you need the federal government to step in and provide some sort of support?
MURIEL BOWSER: Well, we certainly are going to be able to do less with the very historic investments that we’ve made. So, we’re concerned about that. But what I know, that we’re doing everything locally that we can. We have a tool called the Housing Production Trust Fund. This year alone we’ll invest $450 million in new units. We’ve set a goal of building 36,000 new units.
So, we’re always looking for the federal government to be a partner. And I have to say that in coming out of this pandemic and everything that the federal government was able to do to help cities like ours keep people housed with the American Rescue Plan dollars, with making sure that we’re preventing evictions and keep people from getting evicted has been very helpful.
MARGARET BRENNAN: “The Washington Post” reported last week that homeless shelters in D.C. were filling up and groups are getting overwhelmed by these buses that the governors of Texas and Arizona are sending here full of migrants.
How significant is this influx? How many people?
Homeless shelters in Washington D.C. are filling up with asylum seekers from Texas and Arizona. Mayor Bowser says “I fear that they're being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.” pic.twitter.com/7OOH6F2Dpl— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 17, 2022
MURIEL BOWSER: Well, this is a very significant issue. We have, for sure, called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses. We think they’re largely asylum seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C.
I worked with the White House to make sure that FEMA provided a grant to a local organization that is providing services to folks. But I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So it’s not just local taxpayers picking up the tab. You’re saying federal government is helping?
MURIEL BOWSER: Well, local taxpayers are not picking up the tab and should not pick up the tab. And we really need a coordinated federal response. We know that it’s done for refugees who – who come to – to the states from all points of the world and the same has to be done in this situation.
See the full transcript here.