Sirota says eviction moratoriums can play key role in COVID-19 fight

Jacobin editor-at-large David Sirota told Hill.TV that the eviction of residents at rental properties associated with an Oklahoma congressman demonstrates that the federal government’s eviction ban is not “airtight.”

In discussing a recent article published in Jacobin, Sirota said Rep. Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinOvernight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats hearing MORE’s (R-Okla.) connections to the rental companies underscore how lawmakers can often have business ties that influence legislative votes.

“We see in this situation where you’ve got a member of Congress that has voted against eviction bans, his companies are moving forward with a couple of evictions based on economic hardship, it certainly seems based on court filings,” said Sirota, a prominent liberal activist and founder of the Daily Poster.

The Hill has reached out to Mullin's office for comment.

One of President Biden’s first acts in office was extending a federal evictions moratorium through the end of February. The ban had been set to expire on Jan. 31.

Sirota said research has shown that eviction bans and preventing utilities from being shut off can play a significant role in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. When renters are concerned about being evicted, they’re less likely to follow social distancing guidelines and more likely to go into nonessential workplaces, Sirota said, citing the research.

“The idea is if you don’t have stronger eviction bans at the state level or the federal level, then you should expect COVID to continue spreading at the rate it’s spreading,” Sirota said.