Former Vice President Joe Biden believes rent and mortgage payments should be forgiven during the coronavirus pandemic, he said in an interview published Wednesday morning, though his campaign was sparse on details about a proposal.
Asked by journalist Peter Hamby whether it was possible for there to be “some kind of federal rent bailout,” Biden replied: “Absolutely. There is. And we should. We should.”
“There should be rent forgiveness and there should be mortgage forgiveness now in the middle of this crisis,” Biden said. “Forgiveness. Not paid later, forgiveness. It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.”
A transcript of the interview, conducted for Snapchat’s series “Good Luck America,” was published in Vanity Fair.
The Biden campaign said it did not have any further details on how he would implement a rent and mortgage forgiveness plan but noted that Biden had previously called to freeze rent for people who had lost their jobs and for a ban on evictions during the pandemic.
Biden has moved to the left on a variety of issues since the end of the primary, arguing they are necessary to respond to the pandemic and build a stronger middle class in its aftermath. More than 20 million people have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, and the unemployment rate has spiked to 14.7%.
The coronavirus aid package that won bipartisan support in Congress and was signed by President Donald Trump in March gave homeowners with federally backed mortgages the right to ask for reduced or delayed payments for up to 180 days.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and other progressives have pushed an aggressive bill to cancel all rent and mortgage payments from March 2020 until the end of the pandemic crisis. House Democrats did not include the proposal in their most recent coronavirus response legislation, which is expected to pass the House in the coming days.
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