While Americans face what appears to be a spike in COVID19 cases, the bad economic news continues rolling out of Washington and key states. With Congress still debating the merits of and the guidelines for another possible Coronavirus stimulus bill, Representative Maxine Waters of California made a decision to move forward on a small relief package to help renters and homeowners.
By sponsoring the new Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020, Rep. Waters signaled that Congress is well aware Americans are struggling and something needs to be done. The essence of this new legislation is to address the growing foreclosure issue and stop the possibility of evictions being levied against helpless renters.Read More »
About the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020
The House of Representatives passed this new legislation this past Monday. When the votes were tallied, everything ran along party lines with the Democrats voting for the bill 230 to 182 with only Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon dissenting on the Democrats side of the aisle.
After watching the left-leaning Hero’s Act fail when the GOP led Senate declared it “dead on arrival” a couple of weeks ago, Rep. Waters and her Democrat colleagues thought it necessary to carve out parts of the bill to address certain issues.
As things sit now, it is becoming increasingly clear that the number of unemployed Americans is going to remain high until the Coronavirus problem subsides in earnest. Without adequate financial resources coming in, the number of vulnerable Americans remain extraordinarily high.
The new bill has three main provisions of note:
1. The bill allocates $100 billion to be used as emergency rental assistance funds to help American renters avoid evictions.
2. The bill allocates $75 billion to be used as emergency mortgage assistance funds to help American homeowners seeking refuge from possible foreclosure proceedings.
3. Extends the nation’s moratorium on eviction notices being carried out and foreclosures moving forward in the courts. Note: the current moratorium issued as part of the CARES Act (April 2020) is due to expire at the end of July.
In regards to using parts of the Hero’s Act to write this bill, Waters told reporters:
“Some people hearing about this bill won’t understand what we are trying to do in this bill today. This was part of the HEROES Act that passed this House, but we have been waiting on the Senate to take up the HEROES Act. They are not taking it up, they don’t seem to care, they don’t seem to understand that there are people out there who are going to be evicted, and so we have pulled it out of the HEROES Act and we are taking it up independently.”
She then added, “America was facing an affordable housing crisis before this pandemic hit. With so many families struggling as a result of the pandemic, we are now on the precipice of an eviction and homelessness crisis like we’ve never seen in our lifetimes.”
While House Democrats are hopeful the Senate will take this new bill seriously, it remains to be seen what Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans will do. There doesn’t appear to be anything here that would be objectionable. With that said, politics seems to be ruling Washington during America’s darkest hour.
In the eyes of many Americans, this is just a small portion of what is needed to get relief to the Americans who have not been able to return to work. If the COVID-19 virus numbers continue to spike, it’s even possible the nation could see additional lockdowns and extensions of existing ones.
In the meantime, Americans need financial resources. Late last week, President Donald Trump and congressional leaders all stated there would be more stimulus forthcoming. What they didn’t make clear was when a new stimulus bill might be coming and what its contents might be.
All Americans can do for now is write their representatives and watch the news for relief progress. There is still a lot of work to be done, which looks like it is going to drag negotiations well into the summer.
Explore Games and Apps