Rep. Cori Bush spent the night outside the Capitol to protest the end of the nationwide eviction moratorium imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Bush stayed outside the Capitol on Saturday afternoon, asking an Instagram audience to join her in demanding that the moratorium be extended by Congress, President Joe Biden, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today, by midnight, if nothing happens, if no other action is taken from the House, or the Senate or the administration, 7 million people will be at risk for evictions,” the Black congresswoman said. “I’ve been there myself.”
In her initial post, Bush chastised several of her Democratic colleagues for leaving the House of Representatives on Friday to go on vacation “rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes” as the House of Representatives adjourned for the August recess.
Before beginning her political career, she was evicted three times and lived in her car at one time, “I’ll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We’ve still got work to do,” wrote Bush.
Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, both Democrats, spoke out in support of their friend. Then, around 1 a.m. local time Saturday morning, the trio stood for a striking shot in front of the Capitol steps.
“Our solidarity is strong and our numbers are growing,” Bush captioned the shot. “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.”
Throughout her multi-day effort, Bush supported H.R. 4791, also known as the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, on her Instagram story. In addition, California Democrat Maxine Waters introduced a bill in the House that would extend the eviction moratorium until the end of the calendar year 2021.
As Bush pointed out, the moratorium had earlier been extended from June 30 to July 31 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the Supreme Court later determined that Congress would have to make the final decision.
People are facing eviction due to unpaid rent that accrued during the pandemic when many people lost work due to the economic crisis. The CDC issued the moratorium 11 months ago, in part to prevent the coronavirus from spreading through overcrowding in shelters and houses that might need to take in others.
After a Republican congressman opposed a proposal to extend the moratorium until Oct. 18, the House of Representatives adjourned for a seven-week August recess on Friday without renewing it. House Democrats decided not to bring legislation to a vote because they didn’t have enough support, including from some Democrats.
Biden had requested Congress to extend the moratorium on Thursday, and he made it clear that his administration would not do so without congressional permission.
According to a report by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, more than 6.5 million families in the United States are currently behind on $20 billion in rental payments.
Landlords still have to pay their mortgage, insurance, and tax without receiving rent.