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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill that would institute a nationwide cancellation of rent and home mortgage payments through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
The bill was originally introduced back in April 2020, just after the first month of the nationwide stay-at-home orders that were put into place to help combat the virus. At that time, more than 50% of Americans were in support of the bill.
The bill would establish full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history. In addition to homeowners and renters, the bill would also establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from these canceled payments. Additionally, the bill would also create an optional buyout fund to fully 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 increase the availability of affordable housing.
"Right now, we are facing an unprecedented crisis that has put millions of Americans at risk of housing instability and homelessness," said Rep. Omar. "While the American Rescue Plan extends the national rent moratorium—this is not a long-term solution. People across this country will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in back rent when it ends. In some cases, local governments are allowing evictions to continue despite the moratorium. In other cases, landlords are going bankrupt due to lack of income. To avoid an even larger crisis, we must cancel rent and mortgage payments during this pandemic. This isn’t a radical idea. It’s what is needed to prevent an even bigger crisis."
Just recently, it was reported that close to half of all Americans missed a rent or mortgage payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Alan Lowenthal, Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Raúl M. Grijalva, Mondaire Jones, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Ayanna Pressley, Pramila Jayapal, Bennie G. Thompson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nydia M. Velázquez, Rashida Tlaib, Yvette D. Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Frederica S. Wilson, Jan Schakowsky, James P. McGovern, Jimmy Gomez, André Carson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jerrold Nadler, and Cori Bush.
Click here to see comments from the aforementioned cosponsors and more.