House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium that ended on Saturday. Since Democrats failed to renew it on Friday, they’ve been clashing with Biden over who needs do it in a game of hot potato.
“It is unfathomable that we would not act to prevent people from being evicted,” Pelosi said in a statement on Monday, doubling down on her call for the White House to step in.
The eviction moratorium ended on July 31, and 6 million people are at risk of being evicted in the coming months. An emergency rental relief program that formed part of Biden’s stimulus has been very slow in distributing aid to many renters.
Pelosi, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic whip James Clyburn, on Sunday called the measure “a moral imperative” to keep Americans in their homes during another surge in COVID-19 cases.
The statements came after the White House said Thursday it would allow the eviction ban to expire, arguing a Supreme Court decision had tied its hands. It called on Congress to act. But House Democrats failed to renew it on Friday and lawmakers headed to their home districts for a summer recess that will stretch into late September.
Some Democrats are ramping up pressure to bring the House back into session so they take action on renewing the moratorium with new legislation. But they likely don’t have enough votes to do it, given resistance from moderate Democrats.
Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, a progressive Democrat, has slept on the steps of the Capitol since Friday evening.
-Cori Bush (@CoriBush) August 2, 2021
She told Insider on Saturday morning that Democrats needed to take up a new bill on the moratorium immediately.
“We were elected to do the hard things,” Bush said. “How are we going to say to the American people.. we’re allowing 7 million people to not have homes while Democrats are in the majority?”
Other Democrats said the party should take responsibility for failing to act.
“We have to really just call a spade a spade,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a CNN interview on Sunday. “We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have the majority,” the New York congresswoman said.