Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to suspend mortgage payments but not rental payments during the coronavirus outbreak, accusing him of giving “preferential treatment” to wealthier New Yorkers.
“If you called for a suspension or moratorium on mortgage payments, then we should also call for that same treatment on rent payments,” AOC said during an appearance on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” Tuesday.
“We’re kind of creating a class and race issue. We’re essentially rewarding and offering preferential treatment to landowners and folks who are more wealthy, and we’re not offering that same kind of relief to renters,” the Democratic socialist continued.
“Even just from an economic perspective, it’s not responsible to ignore this problem.”
Earlier this month, Cuomo announced that the state would be giving homeowners a 90-day reprieve from mortgage payments, saying eligibility would be “based on financial hardship.”
Homeowners will still have to make good on the payments, but they will be tacked onto the back end of their mortgage agreements, sans late fees, the governor said at the time.
“Eliminating that stressor for 90 days, I think, will go a long way,” he continued, noting that the offer could be extended beyond 90 days depending on how the fight against the contagion plays out.
For AOC, though, the move doesn’t go far enough.
“There’s absolutely … racial and class inequities baked into the crisis,” she told the radio station. “If you are able to stay home, you are a privileged person in this moment.”
Ocasio-Cortez added that those who are required to work outside the home, such as grocery store workers, delivery drivers and those working in food prep, “are overwhelmingly lower-income. They’re black. They’re brown … and they still have to pay rent tomorrow.”