Rep. Bush drives calls for White House action on eviction moratorium lapse

Rep. Bush drives calls for White House action on eviction moratorium lapse
© Greg Nash

Rep. Cori BushCori BushGreene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Treasury says more rental aid is reaching tenants, preventing evictions Holding back on defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences MORE (D-Mo.) on Tuesday called on both the White House and Congress to step up and reinstate the federal eviction moratorium.

“We're asking the White House to make it very clear, you know, how we can get this thing done,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said from outside of the U.S. Capitol building. Bush has been at the building since Friday night to draw attention to the federal government’s inaction on the issue.

“My focus right here right now, today, is that urgent crisis of hundreds of thousands of people have already started to hit the streets, right? And we did not have this thing fixed before now.”

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The moratorium, which has kept people across the country from being evicted for most of the pandemic, expired midnight on Saturday, leaving millions vulnerable to being displaced from their homes.

Many view the eviction moratorium as a crucial public health policy, and its expiration has sent liberal lawmakers scrambling. 

On Thursday, President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE made an eleventh-hour plea to Congress to pass legislation to extend the moratorium, but House Democrats were unable to come to a consensus on Friday before the lower chamber’s scheduled summer recess.

The Biden administration is maintaining that it no longer has the authority to extend the moratorium further due to a June Supreme Court decision.

However, progressives have needled the White House for the last-minute punt.

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“So much of the responsibility right now really falls on the White House to rise to the occasion and to use the ability that it has to extend the eviction moratorium,” Rep. Mondaire JonesMondaire JonesWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill Rep. Bush drives calls for White House action on eviction moratorium lapse House Democrats introduce bill restoring voting provision after SCOTUS ruling MORE (D-N.Y.), also present on the Capitol steps, said Tuesday.

Progressives aren’t alone in their criticism of the White House; top House Democrats, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, have released multiple statements urging the Biden administration to act.

Bush said that she spoke with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNorth Dakota Republican latest House breakthrough COVID-19 case Pelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) earlier in the day, and that the top House Democrat is "supportive" of the cause.

The extension of the moratorium has become an issue that both progressives and moderate Democrats agree on, even as they butt heads in burgeoning midterm battles.

Bush on Tuesday said that this issue is personal for her. Prior to her time in Congress, the Missouri congresswoman experienced homelessness and eviction. 

“I do understand it. I do know what it's like,” Bush told reporters. “I do know what it's like to have babies sleeping in a car … everything I own in trash bags. … There's no way that I could sit back and be quiet.”

Joining Bush and Jones outside of the Capitol Tuesday afternoon were Reps. John SarbanesJohn Peter Spyros SarbanesDemocrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   Rep. Bush drives calls for White House action on eviction moratorium lapse Chesapeake Bay's health increases slightly to a C MORE (D-Md.), Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeBlack Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators Elon Musk after Texas Gov. Abbott invokes him: 'I would prefer to stay out of politics' MORE (D-Texas) and Al Greene (D-Texas). Prominent civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was also present.

Bush noted that a steady stream of House members have returned to Washington, D.C., since the weekend, but it’s unclear if and when Pelosi will move to have the House vote on extending the moratorium.