Progressive Cori Bush says 'some Democrats went on vacation instead' of preventing the eviction moratorium from expiring
- Rep. Cori Bush on Saturday accused Democrats of leaving for vacation before passing legislation that would have renewed the eviction moratorium.
- About 7.4 million Americans are at risk of eviction in the next two months after the moratorium ends July 31.
- The House failed to pass a bill that would have extended the moratorium and members are now on recess until August.
Rep. Cori Bush slammed Democrats, saying they decided to take a recess ahead of the upcoming eviction moratorium deadline, potentially plunging millions of renters into a state of disarray.
"We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead," Bush, a progressive representative from Missouri, said on Twitter Saturday morning.
"We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs. Today's their last chance. We're still here," she added, tweeting out a picture of her and several activists outside the Capitol building.
Hours after failing to pass a bill that would have extended the eviction moratorium, the House on Friday entered a recess that'll last until August.
The eviction moratorium, first set up in September 2020 in response to the financial devastation brought on by the coronavirus, was extended in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The White House encouraged Congress to extend the moratorium past July, giving guidance to do so at the last minute. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the Biden administration would have "strongly supported" the CDC in a decision to renew the moratorium. But a Supreme Court ruling specified that the decision to renew required congressional approval, the White House statement said.
Democrats unanimously voted to pass the bill, but Republican House members blocked the legislation.
After the bill failed, top Democrats expressed their disappointment in a statement.
"It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority whip James Clyburn after the vote failed. "We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis."
Bush told Insider she's prepared to spend a second day sleeping outside the Capitol building in an attempt to get House democrats to reconvene.
"This is not the first time I've occupied in front of a government building. And this is not the first time I've had to sleep outside," she said.
-Joseph Zeballos-Roig (@josephzeballos) July 31, 2021
"I am prepared to stand out here if need be. Do I want to? No. Is it fun? Absolutely not. Would I rather be in my bed? Absolutely," she continued, adding that she had originally been scheduled to stump for congressional candidate Nina Turner.
"But this happened and I knew I could not leave without doing whatever I could to save lives," Bush told Insider.
During her Friday night stayover, the Missouri lawmaker said she only got an hour of sleep in the cold and had "just a chair" and "a sleeping bag that I used as a blanket." Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar also spent the night outside with Bush.
Once the moratorium expires on July 31, about 7.4 million Americans will risk eviction in the next two months. That translates to about 16% of all renters, according to Census Pulse Survey Data.
Meanwhile, landlords are poised to evict quickly, Business Insider's Alex Nicoll reported. A New York lawyer told Insider that landlords want to be ready to serve eviction notices on August 1. These evictions could escalate the national homelessness crisis.
It sends a "very disturbing message" when the House, Senate, and White House are all Democrat-run but lawmakers can't get legislation like this passed, Bush told Insider.
So far, she hasn't heard from her House colleagues about the potential of lawmakers returning to the floor.
But multiple members of Congress - like Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Maxine Waters, who introduced the bill to extend the moratorium on Friday - told Bush they'd return if called back.
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