The federal eviction moratorium enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep people who have lost employment or wages due to the pandemic from losing their homes expired Saturday, but congressional Democrats are keeping the pressure up on the Biden administration to have it renewed. One of the lawmakers leading the charge to keep residents from being put out on the streets is Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who was joined by Reps Ilhan Omar (D-Mn.)and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) in sleeping outside the U.S. Capitol Friday night in protest of the end of the eviction freeze.
According to CBS News, the trio’s decision to camp out in front of the Capitol came after Bush sent out a letter to her colleagues in Congress urging them not to leave for August recess until the moratorium was extended and recalling her own experiences with homelessness.
“I have been evicted three times myself. I know what it’s like to be forced to live in my car with my two children,” Bush wrote. “Now that I am a member of Congress, I refuse to stand by while millions of people are vulnerable to experiencing that same trauma that I did.”
And because in America, the homeless are often looked down on as people who are so lazy they would rather live on the street than have a roof over their heads, Bush also called out the “deeply rooted misconception” many Americans have that “unhoused people have done something to deserve their conditions.” Instead, she said the nation’s homeless population is a consequence of “our government’s failure to secure the basic necessities people need to survive,” and she warned that since the pandemic clearly hasn’t ended, “the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards.”
“After the loss of nearly 600,000 Americans due to this pandemic, lawmakers need to be held to the highest levels of accountability to enact legislation that protects human life,” she wrote. “Extending the federal eviction moratorium as quickly as possible is the least we can do for those in our communities who need our help the most.”
Unfortunately, Bush’s efforts didn’t delay the expiration of the eviction freeze, but Democrats are still on a mission to get it renewed. In a statement to the White House issued Sunday night by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, House Democrats called the proposed renewal “a moral imperative to keep people from being put out on the street which also contributes to the public health emergency,” CNN reports.
But with Republican Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh saying in June that he was only upholding the last extension on the freeze because it would expire on July 31, and with GOP legislators voting unanimously to block any further extensions Friday, the White House’s legal team no longer believes the Biden administration has the authority to renew the moratorium.
As for Bush, her fight against homelessness in America doesn’t begin or end with the pandemic. According to CBS, on Wednesday, she introduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights. Which aims to end the homeless crisis by 2025 by increasing federal housing and funding for federal housing programs as well as providing universal housing vouchers.
So basically, it’s becoming more and more clear which lawmakers in our government care about the wellbeing of the American people, and which ones are hellbent on pretending things are back to normal, even at the expense of the American people.