McHenry: Americans Need Answers from Yellen on Mismanagement of Emergency Rental Assistance
July 20, 2021 -
Read Republican Leader McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I thank the Chair for holding this hearing today. But I have to start by asking: where is Treasury Secretary Yellen?
“I sent the Chair a letter last week asking that the Treasury Secretary join us for today’s hearing, but it looks like we couldn’t make that happen.
“Maybe Secretary Fudge can shed some light on what’s happening with the rental assistance program.
“I know millions of renters across the country – and across the income spectrum – would like some answers.
“Look, Madam Chair, we are on a deadline.
“The Biden Administration’s eviction moratorium ends July 31st. The CDC has already said no more extensions. So, what are people supposed to do? What is the plan?
“Last December, Congress provided $25 billion in emergency rental assistance. Democrats then added on another $21 billion this year for the exact same purpose.
“$46 billion. This might not sound like a lot of money to my Democrat colleagues looking to spend another $3.5 trillion dollars on their progressive agenda—but I assure you, for the Americans who are going to have to decide next month whether they want food for their family or to pay back rent, it is.
“This money was specifically intended to retire old rent debts and end the threat of eviction for millions who fell behind during the pandemic.
“So, where is that money and who is it helping?
“The silence is deafening.
“The Washington Post reported over the weekend that little more than $1 billion has made it out the door. I will remind my colleagues again – $46 billion was allocated to help deal with this rental problem.
“Republicans on this Committee have put forward a solution: The Renter Protection Act. This bill would end the Biden Administration’s mismanagement of the emergency rental assistance and get the money out the door now.
“Last week I called for the Committee to consider this bill, but the Chair hasn’t scheduled it for markup. Ok, what about a hearing?
“We are days away from a preventable problem and instead of figuring out how to keep families in their homes, we’re going to get an update from HUD on all of the other ‘stuff’ they’re working on.
“This is government at its worst.
“It’s clear Democrats would rather talk about anything but the rental assistance and resolving old debts.
“Not to mention, with this level of mismanagement and lack of transparency, I can only imagine the amount of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars we’ll have to address. But lucky for us, we have no information on that so – hear no evil, see no evil, I guess.
“Fortunately, HUD has a statutory obligation with respect to the transparency of these funds. The original ERA law requires that the Treasury Department ‘in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development’ provide public reports on the use of ERA.
“So, we’ll eventually find out who mismanaged this, but it’s not going to be soon enough to ease the concerns of millions of families—that’s a shame.
“I yield back.”
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