Joe Biden Calls For Federal Rent And Mortgage Forgiveness During Coronavirus Pandemic

Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event.
Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Joe Biden wants Americans to have full forgiveness of rent and mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The presumptive Democratic nominee in the 2020 presidential election discussed his plan for helping Americans feeling the impact of the coronavirus while appearing on Snapchat’s Good Luck America. In the interview, which was also published in Vanity Fair, Biden said that rent and mortgage payments shouldn’t just be put off for a few months, but forgiven entirely in order to help people financially impacted by the pandemic.

“Forgiveness. Not paid later, forgiveness,” Biden said. “It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.”

Biden said he understands that it has been difficult for state governments to offer full forgiveness of these payments, even as many states have extended bans on evictions or foreclosures amid the public health crisis. Biden said that state revenue shortfalls could make this impossible, so he said it is up to the federal government to offer forgiveness on rent and mortgage payments during the crisis.

Biden added that the coronavirus outbreak has shown the need to build a new economy that is “fairer to everybody,” especially those most vulnerable to the current crisis. He pointed out the generation just leaving college and entering the workforce will face particular difficulties.

“We have to reform the system. We have a chance to do that now,” he said. “And people are getting out of school not having a graduation ceremony taking place. They have no way to pay for their student debt, and they can’t have their jobs.”

He added that there is now an entire generation “taking a real kick in the teeth” and that the government needs to help them by fundamentally changing the way the economy functions.

As Business Insider noted, Biden’s call for rent and mortgage forgiveness appeared to back up proposals from many of the more progressive members of the Democratic Party and could be seen as an olive branch to this contingent after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. The report noted that many progressive groups have also called for forgiveness on rent and mortgage payments, including housing advocacy organizations and tenants that held a rent strike on May 1.

Business Insider added that, with roughly 30 million Americans filing for unemployment since the start of the crisis and many finding it too difficult to apply for benefits that would help with mortgage or rent payments, there is a gap that experts say would be very difficult to fill.