WASHINGTON — A bill introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) looks to cancel rent and home mortgage payments nationwide for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act would establish full rent payment forgiveness, with no build-up of debt for renters or homeowners, regardless of income. The legislation would also establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the canceled payments.
If approved, the bill would be retroactive to March 13, 2020, and would last for up to one year.
The legislation was introduced Friday. Roughly 22 million people filed for unemployment in the past month as the coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to close, at least temporarily. That means about one in seven workers have lost their jobs during that time.
“The coronavirus crisis is more than just a public health crisis—it’s an economic crisis," Rep. Omar said in a statement. "We must take major action to protect the health and economic security of the most vulnerable, including the millions of Americans currently at risk of housing instability and homelessness.”
Omar added: “Congress has a responsibility to step in to stabilize both local communities and the housing market during this time of uncertainty and crisis. In 2008, we bailed out Wall Street. This time, it’s time to bail out the American people who are suffering.”
Other House Democrats supporting the bill including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois.
Omar's proposal isn't the only one hoping to provide additional direct relief to the public.
Two House Democrats have also proposed giving millions of Americans $2,000 per month during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the Emergency Money for the People Act, every American age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month. Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive $4,000 per month. Families with children would get $500 per child per month for up to three children. Those who are unemployed would be eligible.
View the full legislation below for the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.