Biden Admin Extends Eviction Moratorium After Activists Sleep On The Capitol Steps In Protest

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for four nights in protest of the eviction moratorium ending over the weekend before the CDC announced an extension.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks to supporters at a rally on the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on August 03, 2021 in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks to supporters at a rally on the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on August 03, 2021 in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images

The Biden administration issued a temporary halt on evictions in parts of the country with increasing COVID-19 cases after Democratic leaders including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) protested the previous moratorium expiring.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday an extension of the eviction moratorium in counties “with heightened levels of community transmission.” The agency said the 60-day extension was a direct result of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads nationwide. That number would likely be exacerbated by mass evictions, the CDC wrote. The moratorium applies to about 80% of the country.

If property owners or landlords violate the rule, they could face a fine of up to $250,000 or one year in jail.

Rep. Bush protested the moratorium ending over the weekend by joining other activists and sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for five days. Bush spoke to NowThis about experiencing PTSD from being evicted three times and experiencing homelessness. She was forced to live in her car with her two kids and said people without homes “don’t get a break.”

“There is no happy moment where we get to just have laughter and all of that,” Bush continued. “That doesn’t happen in those moments when you’re sleeping on the street.”

The federal eviction moratorium, which has been reinstated several times since 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ended over the weekend. Democratic leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pressured President Biden to take action but he said he legally could not. Biden said in a press conference on Tuesday that the Supreme Court declared the moratorium unconstitutional in mid-July and would face hurdles.

Biden and Press Secretary Jen Psaki both said that states have been given federal money to cover living expenses for their residents and don’t need a federal mandate.

“There is enough money out there for states across the country to extend the eviction moratorium from a state level, even without federal action,” Jen Psaki said. She added that states including Texas, Illinois, and Virginia have all provided millions of dollars to state residents to cover rent and utility costs. Other states like New York and California have extended their state eviction bans.

According to a Census Bureau survey from June and July, more than 3 million people said they will likely be evicted in the next two months, and nearly 5 million said they won’t be able to pay August rent.

“We need more time to allow tenants to stay in their homes and pay their landlords with money that Congress has appropriated, but that has not yet been dispersed,” Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) told NowThis.

Bush said protesting the end of the moratorium has been “triggering” but is working to help the people who she said have called her office asking for help after being evicted.

“The issue is, what should have happened, what could have happened, didn’t happen,” Bush said. “That’s why I’m sitting right now on the steps of the U.S. Capitol still, day five, fighting for you, fighting for my community.”