Activism On the Hill

Rep. Cori Bush Sleeps on Steps of U.S. Capitol to Protest Eviction Moratorium’s Expiration

This weekend, Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo) protested the expiration of the Center for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium by sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

On Saturday night, the CDC’s ban on evictions expired, threatening renters across the country with the possibility of eviction. The moratorium had been put in place 11 months ago to protect renters from losing their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to The Washington Post, over 6 million renters have fallen behind on rent and could be at risk of eviction.

Rep. Bush, along with other protesters, slept on the Capitol steps to protest that no extension of the moratorium had been passed. The House of Representatives adjourned their session on Friday for the August recess without extending the eviction ban.

“The House is at recess. People are on vacations. How are we on vacation when we have millions of people who could start to be evicted tonight?” Rep. Bush said to CNN on “Newsroom.”

Other members of Congress, such as Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), joined Rep. Bush to protest on the Capitol.

“Eviction is already violent, but to evict people in the midst of a pandemic is cruel, inhumane, unacceptable, and 100% preventable,” Pressley said.

Renters and landlords are already heading to the courts as eviction notices continue to be distributed. The threat of eviction is especially concerning as cases of the Delta variant spike across the country. 

“We just need help,” said single mother Chelsea Rivera, who is facing eviction in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s just been really hard with everyday issues on top of worrying about where you’re going to live.”

The eviction moratorium had already been extended through July, but the Supreme Court made clear that the eviction ban could not be extended any further without “clear and specific congressional authorization.”

Diane Yentel, chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, called the Biden Administration and Congress’s inability to extend the moratorium before recess “a devastating failure to act in a moment of crisis.”

“As the delta variant surges and our understanding of its danger grow, the White House punts to Congress in the final 48 hours and the House leaves for summer break after failing to protect families from losing both their homes and their ability to stay safe,” she added.

“It’s an eviction emergency,” Rep. Bush tweeted. “Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now.”

Sources: CNN 8/2/21; Washington Post 7/31/21; AP News 8/3/21

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