July 22, 2020

TRANSCRIPT: Warren Remarks at Senate Democrats' Press Conference Calling For Expanded Eviction Protections Ahead of Friday Expiration

Watch the press conference here 

Washington, DC - Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to continue Democrats' demand for an extension of eviction protections in the next coronavirus bill. The federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire Friday and would eliminate a vital safety net for millions of Americans, and disproportionately harm Black and Latino families.

Senator Warren and Congressman Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-Ill.), a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) have introduced the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act to extend the nation-wide moratorium on evictions to March 27, 2021 and expand the moratorium to cover substantially all renters.

Transcript of Warren's opening remarks:

Senator Warren: So I want to start by thanking our leader who has been instrumental in trying to put together help for families that are struggling and Senator Van Hollen. We've worked together because we are just days away from a housing crisis that could be prevented if Mitch McConnell stopped stalling and the Senate act. This is about our health, our economy, and our values. Forcing thousands of people out of their homes during a pandemic will make a public health crisis worse. Wide spread housing disruptions will also affect essential workers and others who are keeping our economy going. And a wave of evictions will hit communities of color the hardest, further deepening racial inequities in our nation. So first, how bad is this problem?

More than 30% of all renters say today that they have little or no confidence they can make their next housing payment. More than 40% of Black and Latinx renters aren't sure they'll be able to make their next rent payment. Nearly two thirds of renters who are not confident about making their rent earn less than $35,000 a year. And more than a quarter of black and Latinx renters couldn't pay last month's rent, or had it deferred. Think about that. That's 1 in every 4 Black or Latino renters who are already behind on their rent. And to add to that, the high unemployment rate, the numbers of workers across the country who have had their hours and income cut, and the number of small businesses that have shuttered and may never reopen, and it's clear that the number of evictions will continue to rise. Experts are predicting an avalanche of evictions if we don't institute new protections. We are already seeing a rise in evictions in cities where local eviction bans have lapsed. This is a crisis we can avoid. Instead of further delay and denial, the Senate can step up now and prevent this catastrophe before millions of people are forced out of their homes.

Representative Chuy Garcia and I introduced the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act. This bill protects renters from losing their housing if they lose their job or have their hours cut during this crisis and can't make their housing payment. The bill extends the federal eviction moratorium to last one year instead of expiring this week. That means that  renters would be protected until March of 2021. It also makes the moratorium universal. Every renter will be protected. And every renter will know they are protected. That's really important because right now, renters often don't know if they're covered by the federal moratorium and they are still getting evicted. Our bill also makes sure renters don't get hit with high fees or penalties if they need a few extra months to pay rent.

We also need Senator Brown's emergency rental assistance bill, which would help renters make payments that they've missed or future rent payments, so they can remain stably housed, and landlords can get their payments.

Failing to put a safeguard in place to keep people in their homes is most likely to harm the most vulnerable Americans, and to harm communities of color.

It is critical that we act now. We cannot delay any longer.