TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) – New York Representative Tom Reed says members of Congress are considering some kind of assistance to prevent a wave of evictions caused by the pandemic.

The federal eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire December 30. In New York, a state moratorium also expires then.

Even if the moratoria are extended, Reed acknowledged people who lost jobs and businesses because of the pandemic may still owe months of back rent.

“Housing assistance may be better in the long run than a moratorium because then you take care of the landlord’s needs,” he said. “A lot of the landlords are small business owners or just mom-and-pop folks who may have a couple of that they picked up and they’re using it for side income.”

Reed said the eviction crisis and additional housing assistance are part of negotiations underway in Washington, D.C.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

(Screen cap of Rep. Tom Reed, NY-23. Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio)

He predicts the next  COVID relief package will include less money than proposed by House Democrats. He estimates the final bill will be between $500 billion and $1 trillion.

Reed also predicts the next bill will include additional unemployment benefits.

“Unemployment benefits but definitely taking care of the – not going to be at the $600 enhanced amount because, got to make sure there’s still the incentive to work that we learned about the $600 amount being a disincentive to get back into the workplace,” Reed said.

The Southern Tier Congressman said there will also be aid for some employers. He specifically mentioned the restaurant, airline and other transportation industries.

If an agreement isn’t reached by mid-December and signed by the President before January, then it will be left for the Biden Administration.

He blames delays on Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck Schumer. He accused them of “playing politics” and using Georgia’s senate elections as an excuse to slow progress on the bill.

Both Georgia senate seats will go to the winners of run-off elections set for January. Reed implied Democratic leaders are delaying negotiations on the COVID relief package.  By winning a majority, Reed claims Democrats hope to pass a more-generous relief package through the Senate.

Fellow New York Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested another reason why Democrats resist the current proposal.

In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez stated, “If you want to know why COVID relief is tied up in Congress, one key reason is that Republicans are demanding legal immunity for corporations so they can expose their workers to COVID without repercussions.”





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