Press Releases

McHenry on the Biden Administration’s Mismanagement of Emergency Rental Assistance: This Is an Abject Failure

Washington, June 9, 2021 -

Today, the House Committee on Financial Services is holding a hearing on Democrats’ proposals to create a new, massive federal housing voucher entitlement program, which does nothing to increase the supply of rental housing. Instead, the Committee should be focused on fixing the Biden Administration’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance.
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.
“Today’s hearing is about creating a brand new, massive open-ended federal entitlement program for “universal” housing vouchers. 
“Instead of focusing on the immediate needs of the economy - like the 9.3 million job openings and the record 4 million workers who quit their jobs in April, we are going to focus on fulfilling a progressive priority that would result in the largest expansion of HUD in its entire history. 
“Under this proposal, an additional 14 plus million households could qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher program based on their income status alone, which means the cost would jump from $25 billion to $185 billion per year.
“It’s important to note, $185 billion is nearly 2 and a half times the entire annual cost of the Department of Homeland Security.
“To be clear, creating a universal housing voucher entitlement does nothing to increase the supply of rental housing. This means that skyrocketing demand in already expensive markets would drive rental prices higher and make affordable units less available. 
“It’s ironic that we’re here today to discuss another bad Democrat housing proposal when we really need to be focused on cleaning up the Biden Administration’s latest mess. 
“Last year, Congress came together to approve $25 billion to repay renters’ back-rent debts. 
“That money was specifically designed to make sure no renter would be faced with a pandemic-related eviction through no fault of their own. 
“Before that money was even out the door, Democrats pushed through another $21.6 billion in rental assistance as a part of the partisan American Rescue Plan.
“Now, nearly 6 months after the first tranche of funding was enacted, the Treasury Department cannot tell us if anyone has actually had their back-rent debts paid off. 
“Treasury’s exact response when I asked last month? We will “provide this data as soon as practicable” 
“Translation: they have no clue where that $46.6 billion in aid is or how it is being used. 
“This is an abject failure by the Biden Administration. 
“I’m sure I don’t need to remind my colleagues across the aisle that we have a deadline. The federal eviction moratorium will end this month. 
“If this aid is not delivered to renters, they could become homeless. And instead of addressing this looming crisis today we’re talking about a long-held progressive priority that will do nothing to help renters. This is mismanagement at the highest level. 
“But, as we saw last week when SEC Chair Gensler decided to simply remove the entire PCOAB board, mismanagement seems to be a trend in a Democrat-run Washington. 
“Committee Republicans will be introducing a bill to at least end the mismanagement of emergency rental assistance. This bill will get the money out the door yesterday not tomorrow, and make sure that all $46 billion is used to settle back rent debts and protect renters facing eviction. 
“This idea is simple, bipartisan, commonsense, and holds government accountable. 
“If we want to be serious about meeting the rental assistance needs of Americans, this bill is a good place to start. Not with another bad Democrat policy we’ll be back here trying to fix in a year.
“I yield back.”

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