Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign emails supporters encouraging mask-wearing: 'We have nothing to lose' Cuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks MORE pressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE and Congress to enact an emergency housing package after ramped up unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium that have expired.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic 2020 nominee, also hammered Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.) for allowing the Senate to head home despite ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill for the next coronavirus relief package. Progress on the negotiations has been slow amid disagreements on a list of issues, including the level of federal unemployment benefits. 

“Today is the first day of another month where rent and mortgage payments are due for millions of Americans who are already living on the edge. It comes a day after President Trump and Leader McConnell sent the Senate home for the weekend and allowed enhanced unemployment insurance, which millions of families have been using to pay their rent and bills, to lapse,” Biden said.

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“Because Donald Trump is abdicating his responsibility to lead us out of the pandemic crisis and the economic crisis, we now face a potential housing crisis across the country,” he added. “To prevent a catastrophic rise in evictions and homelessness, President Trump must work with Congress to act swiftly and enact a broad emergency housing support program for renters, just as we would in the aftermath of a natural disaster.” 

Biden’s statement comes on the first day of August, when rent is due and families find themselves facing new financial hurdles in light of the expiration of the unemployment benefits Friday and the eviction moratorium on July 24.

Biden said Congress should “provide emergency unemployment benefits, greater access to food and nutrition programs, and full subsidies to allow families to keep their health insurance,” adding that doing so could “put the nation in a much stronger position to handle the strain the virus is putting on millions of Americans and our entire economy.”

The statement comes as Republicans and Democrats in Washington clash over the details of the next coronavirus relief package. President Trump and Republicans have suggested a short term deal addressing only unemployment and evictions, but Democrats have maintained they want one big package to address the pandemic.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.) met Saturday morning with White House Chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into 'possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization' Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into 'possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization' Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House MORE in what participants said was the most productive meeting yet.

“We’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion. Now each side knows where they're at,” Schumer told reporters after the meeting. 

Mnuchin added that the meeting, which lasted over three hours, was the “most productive we've had to date.”