Democrats and the White House Were Nearing an Agreement on Renter, Homeowner Assistance. Then Trump Tweeted.
President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to cut off negotiations on a compromise stimulus bill until after the election has likely killed any chance that the White House and congressional Democrats will reach an agreement on federal assistance to renters and homeowners.
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” tweeted Trump on Tuesday afternoon. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”
The announcement comes just as a compromise between the White House and House Democrats on rent relief appeared to be in the cards.
On Thursday, House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, which includes $50 billion for emergency rental assistance, and $21 billion in funding for states and territories to spend assisting homeowners.
Of that $50 billion in rental assistance, at least 40 percent would have to go to tenants making 30 percent or less of their area’s median income, and 70 percent of it would have to be spent on those making less than half their area’s median income. Tenants making up to 120 percent of area median income would be eligible for assistance.
These income restrictions are identical to those found in the enlarged $3.5 trillion HEROES Act back in May, which earmarked $175 billion to renter and homeowner assistance. The $71 billion in renter and homeowner assistance proposed by Democrats now is still too rich for many congressional Republicans but is much closer to the $60 billion that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the White House could accept.
Senate Republicans did not include any funds for rent or mortgage relief in their latest, failed “skinny” stimulus. Sen. Pat Toomey (R–Penn.) told Reason last month that he opposed additional federal assistance to renters, saying “I think we have to ask ourselves how much expansion of the welfare state,
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