WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden’s administration on Tuesday extended the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through June.
“More than 10 million homeowners (are) behind on mortgage payments,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that the extension of the ban will “bring urgent relief to the American families struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”
Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., called the extension a critical first step in fighting what he described as a “housing crisis.”
“We still need to provide resources to help folks make those mortgage payments and those rent payments,” he added.
Democrats in Congress are moving full steam ahead with passing Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes billions in rental and unemployment assistance, plus another round of stimulus payments.
“We’re going to have the House voting very shortly on that. It will then come up before the Senate,” Peters explained.
Republicans continue to push back against the package, saying it’s too expensive and includes too many things not directly related to the pandemic.
“The numbers just don’t stack up,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., said.
One of Republicans’ main concerns: a proposed increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“1.6 million jobs would be lost,” Luetkemeyer said.
He said he was frustrated that Democrats who control the U.S. House of Representatives batted down Republican-proposed amendments to the package.
Psaki said Biden hopes the minimum wage increase makes the final cut in Congress.
“He thinks its long past time to raise the minimum wage, but we’ll let the process see itself through,” she said.
“If it doesn’t happen in this package, we will make every effort to make it happen in the future,” Peters said.