Democrats are ready but House Republicans say it’s pointless

Lawmakers this afternoon reacted differently to Gov. Kate Brown’s call for a special session on Dec. 13 to develop a plan to increase federal rent assistance for Oregon residents facing eviction.

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), who is running for governor and has made tackling the state’s housing shortage a top priority long before the pandemic, has responded positively.

“I support an emergency special session,” Kotek said on Twitter. “We are ready to continue protections against evictions when we meet on December 13. No Oregonian should be evicted while rental assistance is in progress. “

Majority leaders in the Senate and House, Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and Barbara Smith-Warner (D-Portland) also hailed the governor’s plan.

“From the onset of the pandemic, Oregon was committed to protecting individuals and families threatened with eviction,” Majority leaders said in a joint statement. “We can take action at a special session to ensure that doesn’t happen and that we keep our promise to the Oregonians. No one should lose their home because of administrative delays.

Senate Speaker Peter Courtney (D-Salem) responded more cautiously to Brown’s summons.

“The governor called us on December 13,” Courtney said in a statement. “It’s two weeks from today. Special sessions are the most difficult of all sessions. Everything must be carefully planned. We have a lot of work to do. I hope we will be ready.

Related: Oregon landlords tell state lawmakers: Pay the rent.

Brown’s office said Oregon Housing and Community Services received $ 289 million in federal rent assistance. The agency expects that money to be fully committed by the end of the month, so Brown wants lawmakers to provide additional funds for the winter months.

House Republicans, however, waved a yellow flag, saying the Legislative Assembly’s Emergency Council, which is empowered to make financial decisions between regular sessions, can handle any shortfall.

Their new leader, State Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville), replaced Representative Christine Drazan (R-Canby) today. Drazan has stepped down from his leadership position to focus on his gubernatorial bid, but will retain his seat. Breese-Iverson has signaled that his caucus has no interest in helping Democrats win a public relations victory for providing more funding.

“We must allow our economy to return to normal,” she said in a statement. “Our level of unemployment, our unemployment claims and our job offers are back to the years before the pandemic. A special session is not necessary. After consecutive years of record-breaking state revenues, the Emergency Council has the ability to allocate funds to help those already in line to receive rent assistance. “

It was not immediately clear whether House Republicans would in fact show up at the special session.

Source link

About Therese Williams

Check Also

Why Trump’s grip on the GOP is unmatched after the Capitol riot

After effectively ending his campaign fundraising in the wake of the Capitol Riot, Mr. Trump …