Several progressive lawmakers wrote to leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Friday pleading with them to act with the “highest degree of urgency” to fight evictions after the Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s moratorium.
Lawmakers asked leaders to work to reinvigorate the national eviction moratorium after the Supreme Court ruled congressional action was needed.
Millions of people currently at risk of eviction, unsafety or losing their homes are desperately looking to their elected representatives to enact legislation that will put their health and safety first and save lives. ‘ says the letter.
The effort was led by Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley and signed by more than 60 Democrats, including former Squad Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush, who slept on the steps of the Capitol when the moratorium ended before the CDC extended it.
The letter was headed by Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (right) and signed by more than 60 Democrats, including Rep. Cori Bush, who led a lie-in on the steps of the Capitol earlier this month to protest the expiration of the deportation moratorium
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seen above with Rep. Bush while sleeping in, also registered
Lawmakers noted that the Delta variant has increased the number of COVID cases in the United States, making housing a critical health problem.
“The looming eviction crisis is a public health and safety issue that requires an urgent legal solution to prevent further damage and needless loss of life. Allowing for an eviction crisis will only wipe out the gains we’ve made and put our recovery further out of reach,” they wrote.
The group of liberals did not ask the speaker to bring Congress back early — the House will return on Sept. 20 — but did urge urgent action.
“The deportation moratorium has ended. If we don’t act, it will undoubtedly lead to a greater spread of COVID-19, more deaths and trauma across the community. We urgently implore you to act now and incorporate an ambitious legislative solution to extend the deportation moratorium in a legislative vehicle to be approved,” they wrote.
Bush, who led a five-day slumber on the steps of the Capitol earlier this month before the Biden administration extended the moratorium, vowed to keep fighting.
“We were outside the Capitol for five days. To rain. Warmth. Cold. If they think this partisan statement will stop us from fighting to shelter people, they are wrong. Congress must act immediately. For every displaced or soon to be displaced person in our districts,” she wrote on Twitter.
Pelosi called the ruling “arbitrary and cruel” in a statement. She said Rep. Maxine Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, is looking for ways to accelerate funding in an earlier round of COVID aid funding to states and communities.
About $45 billion set aside for rental insurance is waiting to leave the states.
“The House is reviewing possible remedies,” she said without going into details. “Families must be protected during the pandemic and we will explore every possible solution.”
When the moratorium expired in early August, Pelosi urged Biden to take action, as it had to come from the executive branch. Democrats did not have the votes in the House to extend the moratorium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a new 60-day moratorium, which the Supreme Court overturned in a 6-3 decision split between the court’s conservative and liberal judges.
The White House sent a letter to governors and local leaders encouraging them to implement their own moratorium on eviction at the local level.
“The Treasury Department and the Secretary of HUD have sent a letter calling on all governors, mayors and district officials to establish their own moratorium,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. “There are seven states across the country that have done that.”
In Thursday night’s ruling, Judges John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett vote to end the deportation moratorium, while Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan vote to maintain it.
“It would be one thing if Congress specifically authorized the action taken by the CDC,” the court wrote. “But that didn’t happen. Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions based on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures such as fumigation and pest control. It is gullible to believe that this statute gives the CDC the sweeping authority it claims.”
Liberals in Congress plead with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to take action
Real estate groups in Georgia and Alabama had argued this point, telling the Supreme Court that the moratorium was causing property owners across the country significant financial hardship, USA Today reports.
Property owners had to continue to pay expenses without receiving payments from tenants. Nor were they allowed to evict nightmare tenants, who were given free rein to make their neighbors’ lives a misery.
As of Aug. 25, nearly 90% of federal funds intended to help landlords make up for the loss of funds had not been disbursed, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.
About 3.5 million people in the United States said they will face eviction in the next two months, according to data from the Census Bureau in early August.