OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
In what can only be described as a ridiculous stunt, a handful of progressive Democrat lawmakers slept on the streets of Washington, D.C. to bring attention to the expiring eviction moratorium.
Well, actually, they spent the night camped outside the very well protected and safe Capitol, not the actual streets where real homeless people in Washington DC are.
Missouri Rep. Cori Bush spent Friday night and Saturday morning outside of the Capitol building to protest the expiring moratorium, which would allow landlords to evict tenants who owe them rent, Fox News reported.
“It’s 1 AM. Our solidarity is strong and our numbers are growing. Millions are at risk of being removed from their homes, and a Democratic-controlled government has the power to stop it. Extend the eviction moratorium now,” she said in a tweet.
It’s 1 AM. Our solidarity is strong and our numbers are growing.
Millions are at risk of being removed from their homes, and a Democratic-controlled government has the power to stop it.
Extend the eviction moratorium now. pic.twitter.com/Rt0LFgViAN
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 31, 2021
“We are here! So many people are at risk of homelessness in our district and many have already experienced it. We are out here for them,” her fellow Squad member, Minnesota Rep Ilhan Omar said.
We are here! So many people are at risk of homelessness in our district and many have already experienced it. We are out here for them. https://t.co/cLtcF6bfAd
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 31, 2021
And another fellow Squad member, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, simply said, “We’ve got you, Sis. Extend the #EvictionMoratorium.”
We’ve got you, Sis.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 31, 2021
In a letter to her colleagues asking for their support, Rep. Bush recounted her own experience with being homeless.
“I’m urging you to please hear me out on this issue because as a formerly unhoused Congresswoman, 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. 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,” she said.
“I remember what it was like for us to live out of my car. I think about how society wanted me to believe that being unhoused was my fault. We have a deeply rooted misconception in our country that unhoused people have done something to deserve their conditions ─ when the reality is that unhoused people are living the consequences of our government’s failure to secure the basic necessities people need to survive. In the wealthiest country in the world—no one deserves to be unhoused.
“I commend Chairwoman Waters for her strong leadership on this issue, and fully support H.R. 4791, the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, which would extend the CDC eviction moratorium through December 31, 2021. In the interest of saving as many lives as possible right now, I am also prepared to support legislation that keeps this protection in place through October. I urge all of my Democratic colleagues in the House to support this effort too,” she said.
A vote to extend the moratorium failed in the House when it did not gain Republican support, ABC News reported.
“We are proud and pleased that, overwhelmingly, House Democrats have understood the hardship caused by rental evictions and support extending the eviction moratorium to October 18, 2021,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip James E. Clyburn said in a joint statement after the failed bid. “Unfortunately, not a single Republican would support this measure.”
In a letter to colleagues earlier Friday, Pelosi said the October date would align with the public health emergency declaration that was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Previously, Democrats had floated extending the moratorium through the end of the year, but some moderates had complained that the timeframe was too long.
“Congress has the power to direct the CDC to extend the eviction moratorium, as we encourage state and local governments to distribute the money that we allocated,” Pelosi wrote.