Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has introduced legislation to cancel rent and mortgage payments for millions of Americans as the coronavirus crisis continues to hamper the U.S. economy.
Under the bill, rent and mortgage payments could be canceled for “all Americans regardless of income or employment status,” Fox News reports. The bill would also set up a massive fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the canceled payments.
“The coronavirus crisis is more than just a public health crisis—it’s an economic crisis. Minnesotans are losing jobs, getting their hours reduced and struggling just to put food on the table,” Omar said in a statement. “We must take major action to protect the health and economic security of the most vulnerable, including the millions of Americans currently at risk of housing instability and homelessness.”
“Congress has a responsibility to step in to stabilize both local communities and the housing market during this time of uncertainty and crisis. In 2008, we bailed out Wall Street. This time, it’s time to bail out the American people who are suffering,” she said.
Omar is a member of a progressive group of Democrats dubbed “The Squad,” which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
It’s unknown how much the bill would cost American taxpayers. Three other bills already passed by Congress are set to cost more than $2.2 trillion.
Dubbed “The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act,” Omar’s bill “would be a full payment forgiveness plan, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit ratings or rental histories, Omar said,” Fox reported.
It also would create an optional fund to finance the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts and states or local governments in order to make affordable housing available.
Omar has also called on a halt to “all” deportations during the pandemic after Guatemala’s health minister complained that many of the COVID-19 cases in his country could be traced back to migrants returned from the U.S. …
Omar also called for Congress’ coronavirus relief package to include so-called “mixed-status” families, which would include noncitizens. “It is absurd and cruel that a taxpaying, mixed status [sic] couple or family could be excluded from this relief,” Omar said at the time.