After Congress failed to pass legislation to extend the ban, a federal eviction moratorium expires on Saturday, prompting some House progressives to sleep outside the Capitol in protest.
The moratorium to assist renters who have lost their jobs and income as a result of COVID-19 expired after House leaders failed to extend it until Oct. 18 ahead of a six-week summer recess. The moratorium expires at midnight on Saturday.
According to House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, a “overwhelming number” of Democrats supported the extension, but some were concerned about getting payments to landlords who could not enforce rent collections.
“Not a single Republican would support the measure,” a joint statement by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn said.
Hoyer asked for unanimous consent on the House Floor on Friday evening to bring up legislation to extend the eviction ban, but “it was objected to and blocked,” the joint statement added.
“Many of my Democratic colleagues chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes,” Bush tweeted Friday night. “I’ll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We’ve still got work to do.”
Omar said in a tweet she joined the protest because of homelessness in her district.
“We are here!” Omar tweeted. “So many people are at risk of homelessness in our district and many have already experienced it. We are out here for them.”
The moratorium was set to expire on April 1st, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to extend it until at least July 1st due to the ongoing pandemic and the threat of COVID-19 spread in homeless shelters. The CDC then extended it until July 31, claiming it was the final extension.
Prior to its expiration, the eviction ban had been the subject of several federal court decisions. After a legal defeat the previous month when a federal judge ruled the CDC exceeded its authority in ordering the ban, a federal appellate court upheld the ban in June.
Landlords were prohibited by the CDC ban from evicting renters who had made partial rent payments and demonstrated this through sworn declaration they would face overcrowded conditions if evicted from home.
“Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President [Joe] Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Thursday.
Pelosi told reporters Friday that Congress received a last-minute notice from the White House about the need to fix the issue with legislation.
“Really, we only learned about this yesterday,” Pelosi said. “Not really enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build the consensus necessary.”
Pelosi noted that $3 billion out of $46 billion for renters, landlords and housing providers in the COVID-19 relief legislation has been distributed.
“How shameful. I mean, what? While people — and the people who are on the verge of being evicted are paying the price for whatever obstacles these localities and states refuse to overcome to distribute this — these funds,” Pelosi said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortex, D.-N.Y., told reporters that party leaders waited too long to attempt to extend the moratorium.
“Everybody knew this was happening,” Cortez said. “We were sounding the alarm about this issue.”