Rep. Cori Bush leads charge protesting eviction moratorium end on Capitol Hill
As members of Congress went home for an August recess, the tidal wave of evictions began nationwide.
On Thursday July 29, the Biden administration announced that the federal eviction moratorium will expire soon, but urged Congress to take action to keep it running.
The CDC imposed the eviction moratorium 11 months ago to prevent the spread of coronavirus in shelters and homes of people who would take in others.
According to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, more than 6.5 million U.S. households are currently behind on $2 billion in rental payments.
The moratorium was set to expire on Saturday, July 31, but the House of Representatives adjourned for a seven-week August recess on Friday without renewing it.
Lacking sufficient support, including among some in their own party, House Democrats chose not to bring legislation to a vote.
Congresswomen Cori Bush, a progressive Democrat who won her Missouri seat last year, decided to take a stand against the injustice. First, she sent a letter to her fellow colleagues, urging them to reconvene to protect people from losing their homes.
“Congress made a commitment to the American people — stating that staving off this crisis was a ‘moral imperative.’ That the House suddenly adjourned this evening without a roll call vote on Chairwoman Waters’ legislation is a moral failure,” Bush wrote.
In the letter she also said she would be camping out on the Capitol Plaza and invited them to join her in solidarity.
Many of my Democratic colleagues chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes.
I’ll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We’ve still got work to do. pic.twitter.com/9l52lWBM73
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 31, 2021
Prior to her career in politics, Bush was evicted three times and lived in her car with her two children.
She told CNN Reporter Daniella Diaz that she knows what it feels like to wonder if an eviction notice is coming.
“Your whole life turns upside down," she said. "That's what's going to happen to 7 million people over the course of the next few weeks. We're talking about children that are getting ready to go back to school, we're talking about our elders."
Bush was accompanied by two other progressive colleagues, Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 1, 2021
All three progress representatives criticized their colleagues for taking a vacation without extending the moratorium. Omar referred to it as an “abdication of responsibility.”
"I canceled my flight home and stayed in D.C. hoping my colleagues would do the same, but we had to adjourn since some rushed to their summer vacations," she wrote in a tweet.
Pressley expressed disappointment with the clear demonstration of apathy, tweeting that eviction is a “policy choice, and a violent one at that.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 1, 2021
After spending the night outside the Capitol, Bush tweeted on Saturday morning and urged President Biden to extend the moratorium, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconvene the House for a vote, and Senator Chuck Schumer to extend the moratorium in the Senate.
Meanwhile, more lawmakers showed up to support Bush throughout the weekend, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Jim McGovern, Jamaal Bowman, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Saturday came and went, and the moratorium was not extended. Bush tweeted on Sunday that her team was made aware that evictions were already underway.
“People are being forcibly removed from their homes RIGHT NOW. There are potentially millions more to come. Has your member of Congress said anything about it?” she wrote.