Trump orders HUD to suspend evictions, foreclosures amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump is taking action to help Americans keep rooves over their heads amid the coronavirus-related economic crisis.

The president ordered the federal government to suspend all evictions and foreclosures through April for people with government-insured mortgages, The Hill reported. In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said that it will order Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend evictions and foreclosures to keep Americans above water during the crisis.

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April,” Trump said at a White House press briefing Wednesday, according to The Hill. “So we’re working very closely with [HUD Secretary] Dr. Ben Carson and everybody from HUD.”

Trump gives the order

In a clear tone shift, President Trump has begun referring to the coronavirus as America’s “enemy” while declaring himself a “wartime president” this week, as Politico notes. Trump has sought to spare no expense or use of his authority to both fight the virus itself and help Americans struggling financially because of it.

Indeed, as millions of Americans face financial uncertainty, Trump said at a Wednesday press conference that he will suspend all foreclosures and evictions for Americans with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) for 60 days. The decision impacts roughly 8.1 million homeowners, Politico reported.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also been ordered to suspend evictions and foreclosures, The Hill reported. The two government-backed enterprises back about half of the mortgage market, roughly $7 trillion in mortgage debt, according to CBS News.

“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Wednesday, according to The Hill. “The health and safety of the American people is of the utmost importance to the Department, and the halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times.”

A wartime president

The decision is just the latest bold action by Trump to mitigate a growing economic crisis as countless Americans face financial shocks from the deadly pandemic. As many Americans work from home, others are facing joblessness with restaurants, bars, and brick-and-mortar stores ordered closed around the country or otherwise facing a steep drop-off in consumer activity.

To that end, Trump administration is reportedly considering sending a check to every American, an idea that echoes “universal basic income” schemes floated by former Democratic candidate for president Andrew Yang. Senate Republicans revealed a plan Thursday to give a $1,200 check to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year, just one part of a massive relief bill being put together by the Senate GOP, the New York Post reports.

Meanwhile, Trump signed into law a massive relief bill on Wednesday providing paid sick leave and other benefits to American workers, according to Fox News — and he also isn’t being shy about flexing his authority to fight the virus itself. The president said Wednesday that he will mobilize the production of masks, ventilators, and respirators using the 1950 Defense Production Act, Fox reported.

Trump’s decisions won him rare praise from Democrats, including some truly shocking comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), an avowed Trump hater. “Politics aside, this is incredible and the right response in this critical time,” she tweeted, according to the New York Post.

Democrats praising Donald Trump? Maybe the world is really ending.

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