McHenry Calls for Secretary Yellen to Testify on Emergency Rental Assistance Mismanagement
July 12, 2021 -
Republican Leader McHenry writes: “Since December 2020, Congress has appropriated more than $46 billion specifically to eliminate the arrears of renters who fell behind due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with a series of federal moratoria, these actions were intended to forestall a wave of evictions and provide stability in the housing market. However, the bulk of the $46 billion—more than the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual appropriated budget—has still not reached renters, and the final federal eviction moratorium is set to expire on July 31, 2021. In fact, the most recent data show only $1.5 billion was provided to about 350,000 households by May 31, 2021, and millions of renters will soon be exposed to eviction.
“As you know, the Committee on Financial Services has oversight responsibilities for the administration and maintenance of the Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs. In creating these programs, Congress deliberately placed them at the Treasury Department and not the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to reduce red tape and quickly get funds to renters.
“The fact that the Treasury Department has been ineffective with respect to administering the $46 billion ERA programs is our Committee’s most pressing concern. Yet for reasons that remain unexplained, the Secretary is not scheduled to appear before the Committee in July as required by Section 4026 of the CARES Act. I respectfully request that you require Secretary Janet Yellen to testify about this urgent matter at the Committee’s July 20, 2021 hearing on housing issues, and to consider H.R. 3913, the Renter Protection Act of 2021, legislation to streamline the ERA and position the Department to administer the program more efficiently.”
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