Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Representatives Cori Bush (MO-01), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), led over 60 of their House colleagues in writing to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer imploring them to swiftly pass legislation to extend the federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic.
The lawmakers’ letter follows the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent eviction moratorium, which the lawmakers helped secure earlier this month.
“Millions of people who are currently at risk of eviction, housing insecurity, or face becoming unhoused desperately look to their elected representatives to implement legislation that will put their health and safety first and save lives,” the progressive Democrats wrote in their letter. “As your fellow colleagues, we implore you to act with the highest levels of urgency to advance a permanent legislative solution in a must pass legislative vehicle in order to extend the life-saving federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the deadly global health crisis.”
Only 51 percent of people in the United States are fully vaccinated, break-through infections are surging, and only 11 percent of the $46 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance that Congress authorized to provide financial relief to renters and landlords has been distributed by states and localities.
Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous households are more likely to report being behind on their rental payments, with nearly 600,000 seniors and nearly 20 percent of senior renters who are people of color are behind on rent.
Additionally, communities with lower vaccination rates and higher COVID-19 cases tend to be the same as those with renters at heightened risk of eviction without an eviction moratorium.
With the Supreme Court ruling striking down the CDC’s eviction moratorium, the lawmakers are calling on Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to advance a legislative solution to extend the eviction moratorium in a must-pass legislative vehicle.
“The impending eviction crisis is a matter of public health and safety that demands an urgent legislative solution to prevent further harm and needless loss of human life,” the lawmakers continued. “If we do not act, the end of the eviction moratorium will undoubtedly lead to the increased spread of COVID-19, more deaths, disability, and trauma. We implore you to act with the urgency this moment demands…”
Joining Reps. Pressley, Bush, Gomez and Ocasio-Cortez in sending the letter were Reps. Grace Meng, Jan Schakowsky, James P. McGovern, Raúl M. Grijalva, Suzanne Bonamici, Rick Larsen, Mark Takano, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Frederica S. Wilson, Mike Doyle, Pramila Jayapal, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Jamaal Bowman, David N. Cicilline, Diana DeGette, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. , Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Alan Lowenthal, Veronica Escobar, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Darren Soto, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nydia M. Velázquez, Andy Levin, Rashida Tlaib, Barbara Lee, Debbie Dingell, Jim Cooper, Carolyn B. Maloney, Bobby L. Rush, Nikema Williams, Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Yvette D.Clarke, Ilhan Omar, Brenda L. Lawrence, Adam B. Schiff, Ruben Gallego, Kaiali‘i Kahele, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Dwight Evans, Jared Huffman, Al Green, Adriano Espaillat, Linda T. Sánchez, Gregory Meeks, Ritchie Torres, Earl Blumenauer, Gerald E. Connolly, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Danny K. Davis, Jamie Raskin, Ro Khanna, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Brian Higgins, Mark Pocan, Madeleine Dean and Mondaire Jones.
Late last month, with the previous eviction moratorium set to expire, Rep. Pressley stood in solidarity with her colleague Congresswoman Cori Bush, on the steps of the US Capitol to urge the Administration to act unilaterally to extend this protection—efforts that resulted in a new CDC eviction moratorium.
On July 31, ahead of the expiration of the previous CDC eviction moratorium, Reps. Pressley, Bush, Gomez and their progressive colleagues sent a letter renewing their calls for President Joe Biden and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to extend the federal eviction moratorium and prevent the historic and deadly wave of evictions that would occur if the government failed to do so.
On July 30, Pressley joined House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) in introducing the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, legislation to extend the eviction moratorium through the end of the year.
In June, Pressley, Gomez and Bush, led over 40 of their colleagues on a letter urging Biden and CDC Director Walensky to extend and strengthen the moratorium for the duration of the public health crisis.
From the onset of the pandemic, progressive Democrats in Congress have sought to provide robust housing protections for families across the nation.
- On March 18, 2020, Pressley and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wrote to HUD calling for a moratorium on evicting renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
- On March 19, 2020, progressive lawmakers and organizations, introduced the Housing is a Human Right Act to authorize more than $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years for crucial housing infrastructure and reduce homelessness.
- On March 23, 2020, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) introduced the Public Health Emergency Shelter Act of 2020, legislation to provide critical funding to states and local governments responding to the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis. This legislation was included and passed through the HEROES Act and H.R. 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020.
- On April 10, 2020, Pressley urged Congressional leadership to prioritize recurring monthly cash payments to those most at-risk during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding would allow people to cover all their bills, including rent.
- On April 17, 2020, Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and others introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
- On May 11, 2020, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) urged House and Senate leaders to include $11.5 billion in funding for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) in the next relief package to aid the nation’s homeless population who are experiencing heightened vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On July 24, 2020, the Financial Services Committee discussed the unprecedented financial cliff facing millions of renters and homeowners, the economic consequences of millions losing their homes, including the ability to return to work, and why funding for legal representation is so critical.
- On July 28, 2020, Rep. Pressley, Rep. DeLauro and Sen. Harris introduced the Housing Emergencies Lifeline Program (HELP) Act to provide much-needed, layered assistance to those facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On May 18, 2021, Reps. Bush and Pressley sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calling on the CDC to strengthen and extend the federal moratorium on evictions, ensuring families can remain safely in their homes for the duration of the COVID-19 global health emergency.
- In June 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), re-introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.