OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi did her best to blame Republicans for her latest failure, but she did not tell the entire story.
After an extension on the evection moratorium, protecting renters from being evicted for non-payment of rent, that was put in place during the pandemic, failed to pass in the House Pelosi took aim at Republicans.
She placed the blame on the GOP, calling it cruel, but the fact is that the extension could have passed with simply Democrat support, as The Hill explained.
“While Republicans objected to the bill’s passage on the floor, the House’s inability to advance legislation was also a result of Democrats’ inability to unite around the best path forward — a failure they blamed on the short, one-day notice they’d been given by the Biden administration,” it said.
And it is true that Republicans objected on the extension. Democrats had proposed increases of six months, and when that did not work, they changed it to three months.
As Pelosi explained, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh momentarily sided with the liberal wing of the court in June to allow an extension on the moratorium to stand until July 31, when the CDC said it would lift it.
Justice Kavanaugh said that the CDC had exceeded its authority but because it was only for one month he would allow it, but he would not vote for it again.
The Biden administration then decided not to extend the moratorium and instructed Congress to take action.
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available. In June, when CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st, the Supreme Court’s ruling stated that ‘clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,'” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay,” she said.
But Pelosi took the opportunity to blame Republicans for their last minute action after they knew for a month what Justice Kavanaugh had said.
“Not a single Republican would support the measure,” Pelosi said in a joint statement with Rep. Steny Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn.
“Ensuring every American has a roof overhead is a value that unites the Democratic Party. That’s why I led a relentless campaign to extend the CDC eviction moratorium. In an act of pure cruelty, Republicans blocked this measure — leaving children and families out on the streets,” she said on Twitter.
“In the face of this partisan obstruction, @HouseDemocrats join @POTUS in urging state and local governments to immediately disburse the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance approved by the Democratic Congress, so that many families can avoid eviction.
“Democrats believe in safe and affordable housing for all as the country recovers from the pandemic and we #BuildBackBetter. The Biden-Harris Admin and @HouseDemocrats will continue to search for solutions to protect vulnerable renters from eviction during this crisis,” she said.
Ensuring every American has a roof overhead is a value that unites the Democratic Party. That's why I led a relentless campaign to extend the CDC eviction moratorium. In an act of pure cruelty, Republicans blocked this measure — leaving children and families out on the streets.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 1, 2021
In the meantime a group of progressive Democrats protested outside of the Capitol building this weekend.
In a letter to her colleagues asking for their support, Rep. Cori 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.