LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: September Legislative Update

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: September Legislative Update
Philip Weiden

Realtors won a victory at the federal level when the Supreme Court struck down a CDC eviction moratorium by a 6-3 margin reasoning that the CDC exceeded its authority to issue the moratorium absent Congressional legislation. Forty-two billion dollars in rental assistance was passed by Congress in March. To date, nationally, only $11 billion has been spent. This appears to be due to the inability of states to distribute the funds as most had no process in place to do so.

In New York State, the eviction moratorium has been repeatedly extended and recently was further extended until Jan. 15, 2022 after Gov. Kathy Hochul called for a special session of the state legislature. Very little of the rental aid has reached the landlords. The site has been riddled with errors and has been virtually impossible to navigate and the tenant has to apply on behalf of the landlord which, generally speaking, tenants have been unmotivated to do.

The other federal legislative issue that Congress must act on is the federal debt ceiling (the amount of money the government can spend without Congressional action). The debt limit must be either raised or suspended every year or so. If Congress fails to act it would lead to a credit down grade, default on government obligations (e.g. Social Security payments) and roiling of financial markets.

The other two bills that may or may not pass are the social infrastructure bill, which would cost about $3.5 trillion and the bipartisan infrastructure deal which does not raise taxes. The bigger bill has not been paid for as yet. The bipartisan bill would use unspent coronavirus funds and require an additional $550 billion over what the government planned to spend on infrastructure over the next eight years.

Stay tuned for updates on these issues.

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