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Congresswomen Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley did the unthinkable on July 30. All three changemakers slept outside the U.S. Capitol in protest of the government’s decision to end the Eviction Moratorium which was set to expire on July 31. The moratorium was put in place by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to shield millions of Americans from eviction during the pandemic.
For Bush this one’s personal. The lawmaker took to Twitter where she wrote about her own experience of being homeless before her historic Congressional win.
“There were nights when I was unhoused where my eyes would water as I fought to stay awake, worried about what could happen to my children if I fell asleep. We can and we must build a future where nobody is unhoused,” she tweeted.
Prior to Friday’s sit-in protest, Bush and her colleagues sent a lengthy letter to Congress calling for immediate action on the moratorium’s extension.
“Now that I am a member of Congress, I refuse to stand by while millions of people are vulnerable to experiencing that same trauma that I did,” penned Cori. The Missouri representative warned that if her congressional colleagues failed to act that “the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards.”
“After the loss of nearly 600,000 Americans due to this pandemic, lawmakers need to be held to the highest levels of accountability to enact legislation that protects human life,” she continued. “Extending the federal eviction moratorium as quickly as possible is the least we can do for those in our communities who need our help the most.”
According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Biden administration tried and failed to pass their proposal that would have potentially helped to prolong the moratorium.
“There was not enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build a consensus necessary,” she told reporters.
However, Biden’s camp reportedly issued a request to Congress on July 28, two days before the program was set to expire.
As cases of the highly transmissible Delta Variant continue to surge, homeowners and renters across America are now faced with the tough reality of back-rent, or potentially facing homeless as a result of the pandemic’s whiplash on employment and the economy. Furthermore, some of the households facing eviction are also located in COVID-19 hotspots. According to CBS News, “6.5 million households are behind on rent as of early July, 4.7 million of them were in COVID hotspots.”