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GOP State Lawmakers Are Slowing Emergency Rental Dollars from Congress

In Idaho and Michigan, federal aid for renters has met resistance from Republican-led legislatures, forcing cities and counties to find workarounds.

Some GOP lawmakers in Idaho have balked at accepting federal Covid relief for rental assistance. 

Some GOP lawmakers in Idaho have balked at accepting federal Covid relief for rental assistance. 

Photographer: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

As many as 76,000 households in Idaho have struggled to make rent payments during the pandemic, and 34,000 households may soon face the threat of eviction, according to the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. To address the housing crisis, the state is set to receive $200 million in emergency rental assistance — their share of the $25 billion in housing aid in the Covid relief bill passed by Congress in December. 

But in a budget committee hearing on Feb. 8., Idaho State Representative Ron Nate argued that the state shouldn’t take the aid. “Going forward into the future, seems like we’re choosing between economy and dependency,” the GOP lawmaker said. He and three other Idaho Republicans voted to reject the federal assistance.