Millions of tenants around the country will continue to enjoy some continued relief after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced Tuesday that it will stop certain evictions in areas where COVID-19 transmission is especially high.
The move comes after President Joe Biden allowed a previous moratorium to lapse, setting up a showdown between his administration and progressive members of Congress. The CDC’s reasoning was that evicting people was a public health risk and could slow efforts to combat the pandemic. The new moratorium will expire on Oct. 3 and will apply to areas that have “high or substantial transmission of Covid-19,” CNN reports.
“In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria — like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing — can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes,” the statement read, according to CNN.
The Biden administration said it had no legal standing to extend the moratorium, but eventually caved after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leveraged her power and Congresswoman Cori Bush camped out on the steps of Congress day and night. That public display of righteous protest is what drew national attention to how dire the situation was.
As someone who has faced eviction three times, Bush understands what it means to experience housing insecurity and doesn’t want her fellow Americans to go through it if they do not have to. She developed her activist skills in Ferguson, Mo., after cops shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014. The following year, she was evicted after her neighbors feared she’d bring the unrest to their homes.
“My brain could not understand how we were supposed to just leave,” Ms. Bush said in an interview on Wednesday to the New York Times, recounting the months she spent 20 years ago living out of a 1996 Ford Explorer. “I felt like I did sitting in that car — like, ‘Who speaks for me? Is this because I deserve it?’”
Well, Bush spoke for the people when few others would. That is what “the Squad” is about. Do we really think that Lacy Clay, the 20-year incumbent she unseated in 2020, would have sat his ass outside for days fighting the Biden White House to extend the eviction moratorium? I have your answer: Hell no. Congress began its seven-week recess as the moratorium expired, but Bush stayed put.
What is especially unique about Bush is that she doesn’t give a fuck about access. Administration officials told the Times that Bush’s efforts helped add a sense of urgency to the moratorium situation.
Here is more from the Times on how her haters reacted to her candidacy to unseat Lacy and her activism to extend the moratorium:
But for now, the episode has offered a welcome taste of vindication for Ms. Bush, who has faced doubts and criticisms from some in her party ever since she unexpectedly upset a moderate 10-term Democratic incumbent in a primary one year ago this week in a campaign promising to bring her zeal for activism to Congress.
Her opponent then, Wiliam Lacy Clay Jr., tried to weaponize Ms. Bush’s patchy work history and financial woes, reminding voters of her evictions and that she had struggled to hold down a job. His message was clear: She lacked the kind of experience needed to make a difference in Congress and could not be trusted with public office.
Her critics on the left and right similarly scoffed in recent days at her protest, calling it naïve. Conservative Twitter delighted in making jokes about the unruly sleepover scene on the Capitol’s marble steps. One commentator, Ben Shapiro, called it“unbelievably off-putting and stupid.”
Even fellow liberals who shared her goal questioned Ms. Bush’s hard-nosed tactics, which they privately groused were inappropriate and ineffective for a member of Congress. The liberal editorial board of her hometown newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote on Tuesday that Ms. Bush “clearly misunderstands the complicated process required to restore the moratorium.”
I guess they were all proven wrong.
The path to liberation means that not everyone will see the possibilities. That Congresswoman Bush did shows us that activism and politics do, in fact, mix.
You just have to have the intestinal fortitude to flex your muscles against the powerful—even if it means pissing people off. I think Bush is more interested in keeping people housed than making friends in Washington.
For what she has done, Bush is a national hero. Give her her flowers.