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

Former Vice President Joe Biden pressed President Trump 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 McConnell (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.

“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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met Saturday morning with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin 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.”

Tags Chuck Schumer coroanvirus relief aid Donald Trump election 2020 Evictions first of the month Joe Biden Mark Meadows Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin Unemployment benefits
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