Press Releases

McHenry: Democrats’ Bill Will Not Fix the Biden Administration’s Failure

Washington, September 10, 2021 -

Today, the House Committee on Financial Services is finally holding a hearing on the Biden Administration’s mismanagement of the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs, following multiple requests from Committee Republicans. Instead of Democrat proposals that would make the programs worse, not better, the Committee should be focused on the commonsense reforms Republicans have been pushing for months in H.R. 3913, the Renter Protection Act.
Watch Republican Leader Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.
Read Republican Leader McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Madam Chair, for holding today’s hearing.
“And thank you for attaching our bill, the Renter Protection Act, which is supported by every Republican on this committee. The bill makes commonsense reforms to Treasury’s rental assistance programs to get help to renters and property owners now.  
“It is a bill we should have considered months ago; before the eviction moratorium expired and before renters and property owners had the rug pulled out from underneath them.
“Committee Republicans have been raising the alarm since it became clear the Treasury Department was failing to get rent relief out the door.
“To state the obvious, the Emergency Rental Assistance programs aren’t working.

“Congress gave the Treasury Department more than $46 billion dollars to help renters and property owners survive the pandemic. Back in May, I asked Treasury to provide basic data that would help us understand where all that money is and why it hasn’t reached renters. They couldn’t answer those questions. They still can’t.
“We had a hearing, late in July, with the HUD Secretary who was profoundly unprepared to answer basic questions about the program. We asked: is rental assistance money being used to help COVID-impacted families?
“She told us: ‘I have no idea.’  
“That is unacceptable. This whole process has been unacceptable. 
“It has been two months since the federal eviction moratorium expired and several weeks since the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s last-minute extension. Here we are again, asking – why isn’t the program working, and how can we fix it?
“Is Secretary Yellen here? No.
“Did the majority invite her? No.
“Committee Republicans did, and to no one’s surprise, she isn’t here. Again.
“Three days ago, Democrats finally put forward their alternative. You may not have had time to read it, so I’ll summarize for you:  
“More red tape, more bureaucracy, and more delays. Simply put, Democrats’ bill will not fix the Biden Administration’s failure.
“So, here’s what we should be doing instead:
“First, we should consolidate all the rental assistance programs into one, easy to manage program for localities to administer.
“Second, reform the program so money goes to property owners to settle back debts so families can stay in their homes.
“Third, we need to make it easier for property owners to participate on behalf of residents.
“And last, we have to require grantees to move faster, for example by accepting bulk applications.
“It seems like Democrats in Washington forgot that the purpose of the program is to pay back rent. 
“This isn’t difficult. 
“To get the program back on track, it simply requires that our solutions be targeted, timely, and tied to COVID.
“But the bill put forward by Democrats would only make things worse.
“So instead of actual solutions, today there will be more finger pointing at the previous administration, more proposals to empower liberal activists, and zero plans to hold the Biden Administration accountable for their failures.
“This is a shame.
“Since it appears our bill won’t get a fair shake in this committee, this morning I filed a discharge petition for the Renter Protection Act. I would encourage every member to sign on.  
“I yield back.”

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