Rep. Cori Bush was so upset about the federal eviction moratorium ending that she slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in protest. The moratorium was to cease on Aug. 3, and the freshman socialist congresswoman demanded an extension. It worked.
The White House has announced a 60-day eviction ban for U.S. counties with “substantial and high levels of community transmission,” according to a news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Renters in about 90 percent of the country qualify for the new moratorium, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
“I have been evicted three times myself. I know what it’s like to be forced to live in my car with my two children,” Bush wrote in an emotional letter to her colleagues on Friday, urging them to not leave for August recess until the moratorium was extended.
For three nights, Bush slept outside the Capitol in a one-woman protest. Activists including Rev. Jesse Jackson and fellow Democratic lawmakers later joined the protest, criticizing the end of the moratorium which had protected renters from being evicted from their homes during the pandemic, The Washington Post reported.
“We just did the work — just by loving folks — to keep millions in their homes,” said Bush, a new member of the progressive six-member “Squad” — six Democratic House members who sometimes clash with the Democratic establishment.
Bush, 45, is the newest member of the Squad to grab national headlines and she has “arguably delivered the most impactful result since the Squad was first formed in 2018, Politico reported. Bush has experienced homelessness after eviction, and her Capitol sit-in is being credited with giving millions of Americans a temporary reprieve from eviction.
“I can’t tell you just how important it is, and how much of a change can be brought, by having people who have personal experiences (with) the policy that they are trying to implement,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) a founding member of the Squad.
Some Twitter users downplayed Bush’s efforts. Others came to her support. “Folks on here spent days belittling Cori Bush’s protest as a sleepover photo op. But she may have singlehandedly facilitated a ban on evictions for 2 more months. Being a keyboard warrior is cute, but some officials are actually fighting to get things done,” Essence magazine’s political editor Malaika Jabali @MalaikaJabali tweeted.
Jabali continued the thread with a list of actions by Bush.
“And for people asking “where was she before?” 1. In May, trying to persuade Biden and CDC to issue a universal moratorium that would last until the pandemic is over,” Jabali tweeted.
She continued, “2. In June, along with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, organizing her colleagues to extend the moratorium after the district court decision to end the moratorium”.
Jabali continued, “3. Urging House Dems to vote on Maxine Waters’s bill before the recess, after introducing her own Unhoused Bill of Rights resolution”.
Darrell Banks @iHaTeBaNkss praised Bush by tweeting, “Now that’s someone standing up for their constituents. I wish we could replace lying racist Steve Scalese with someone like her”.
Ending the moratorium would have affected Black renters disproportionately.
An estimated 30 million to 40 million people in the U.S. are at risk of eviction due to the covid-19 housing crisis, according to a 2020 report by the Aspen Institute. Evictions take place in greater density in Black-majority neighborhoods and affect Black communities the most, Brookings reported.
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