Waters Releases One-Pager on Trump’s Executive Order on Housing, Sets the Record Straight
Washington, D.C., August 10, 2020
Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released a one-pager addressing frequently asked questions regarding Donald Trump’s misleading Executive Order on housing, issued on August 8, 2020.
A. NO. Instead, the EO merely directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider whether an eviction moratorium is "reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or possession into any other State or possession.”
Q. Does this EO provide any new federal funding to help households struggling to afford their housing costs?
A. NO. Instead, the EO merely directs federal agencies to look around for existing funding sources that can be used for emergency housing assistance. Specifically, the EO directs the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Treasury to identify existing federal funds that could be used to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners. It also directs the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director (in consultation with the Treasury Secretary) to review existing resources that could be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures. It is unclear how much existing funding could be redirected for this purpose, but it is highly unlikely to come anywhere close to meeting the needs. For example, according to the Urban Institute, it would cost approximately $96 billion to assist an estimated 17.6 million renter households needing rental assistance due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 for 6 months.
Q. Does this EO provide any meaningful help for renters or homeowners struggling to afford their housing costs?
A. Not really. This EO merely directs federal agencies to do things that they should have already been doing as a bare minimum within their existing statutory authorities. For example, the EO Directs the Secretary of HUD to take unspecified administrative action within existing statutory authorities to help prevent evictions and foreclosures. It also directs the FHFA Director (in consultation with the Treasury Secretary) to review existing authorities that could be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures.