Top House Democrats called on the Biden administration Sunday to extend the federal eviction moratorium that expired over the weekend after lawmakers failed to extend it themselves.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democratic leaders said the move was a “moral imperative” that the administration needed to act on immediately to stave off the effects of the resurgence of the coronavirus.
“As the CDC doubles down on mask-wearing and vaccination efforts, science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant,” the lawmakers said.
The lawmakers, who said the moratorium should continue until October, added that billions of dollars in unspent rental relief money set aside by the American Rescue Plan also needed to be released.
The White House has previously said the administration doesn’t have the power to extend the moratorium. Biden urged state and local governments Friday to immediately disburse unspent funds.
“Every state and local government must get these funds out to ensure we prevent every eviction we can,” he said.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., spent Friday and Saturday nights camped out on the steps of the U.S. Capitol urging other Democratic members to act on what she called an “eviction emergency.”
“Today, by midnight, if nothing happens, if no other action is taken from the House or the Senate or the administration, 7 million people will be at risk for evictions,” she said. “I’ve been there myself.”
Before she entered politics, Bush was evicted three times and lived in her car with her two children.
The moratorium was issued last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and extended twice by the White House — once in March and again in June.
Haley Talbot contributed.