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As anger mounts, Congress allows the eviction ban expire

Some lawmakers were furious at President Joe Biden's inaction on Saturday night, and called for Congress to find a last-minute solution for renters. This rare split between the president's party and the president could have long-lasting political consequences.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a New York Rep., stated Sunday that Democrats must "call a spade...a spade" once the deadline has expired.

"We cannot blame the Republican Party, when House Democrats have the majority," the progressive congresswoman stated on CNN's "State of the Union."

Ocasio-Cortez joined other Democrats on Saturday night and Sunday while Bush camped outside of the Capitol. Bush stated that he didn't intend to leave until some kind of change happened, even though the House had left for August recess.

Over 3.6 million Americans are in danger of being evicted, some within a matter of hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the moratorium in place as part of the COVID-19 crises, when many jobs were lost and many workers lost their income.

In frustration, Democrats continued to pile on.

Rep. Maxine Wassers, D.Calif., chair of the Financial Services Committee said Saturday on CNN that "We thought the White House was in control."

"We are only hours from a fully preventable crisis in housing," stated Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a Saturday session, as senators worked on an infrastructure package.

Warren stated, "We have the tools and we have the financing." "We just need the time."

This ban on evictions was put in place to stop further spread of the virus by those who were forced to live on the streets or in shelters. The federal housing aid was approved by Congress for nearly $47 billion during the pandemic. However, it has taken a while to reach renters and landlords who owe payments.

Biden demanded that local governments take all necessary steps to disburse funds immediately, just days before the ban was due to expire.

He said late Friday that there was no excuse for any state, locality, or country not to accelerate funds to landlords or tenants who have been affected by this pandemic.

On Fox News Sunday, Brian Deese (director of the White House National Economic Council) echoed this sentiment. Deese stated that no landlord should be forced to evict without requesting rental assistance. States and localities must urgently get this money, and they are able to do so.

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, urged House Democrats Saturday night to investigate how money allocated so far has been distributed in their states and localities. She stated that the Treasury Department transferred the funds earlier this year and offered to brief lawmakers next Wednesday.

Biden set off the scramble by announcing Thursday he would allow the eviction ban to expire instead of challenging a recent Supreme Court ruling signaling this would be the last deadline.

According to the White House, Biden would like to extend the federal moratorium on evictions due to the widespread spread of the highly contagious coronavirus delta variant. There were concerns, however, that if the court's ruling was challenged, it could result in the administration being unable to respond to future crises of public health.

On a 5-4 vote in late June, the Supreme Court allowed the broad eviction ban to continue through the end of July. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the majority and stated that he would not allow any extensions until there was "clear, specific congressional authorization."

Biden, listening to the warning of the court, asked Congress to quickly pass legislation on Thursday to extend the date.

Democrats raced to respond and tried to craft a bill to get the votes. Pelosi urged her colleagues to extend the deadline to ensure the protection of renters as well as landlords who owe compensation.

Waters quickly produced a draft bill that would have required the CDC to keep the ban in place until Dec. 31. Waters urged her colleagues Friday morning to take action at a hurried hearing to review the bill.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican who is the top Republican on a separate panel that deals with the issue, stated that the Democrats' bill was rushed.

She stated, "This is not how to legislate."

Landlords oppose any extension. They also support a faster distribution of rental aid.

A federal lawsuit was filed by the National Apartment Association and others this week, seeking $26 billion in damages due to the effects of the moratorium.

Despite the behind-the scenes wrangling that took place throughout Friday, Democratic lawmakers still had questions and concerns but could not rally support for the extension of the ban.

A few additional lawmakers supported the revision of the emergency legislation to reduce the Oct. 18 deadline for evictions, in accordance with federal COVID-19 guidelines. However, it was not enough to pass.

The House Democrats attempted to approve an extension without a formal vote but the House Republicans opposed it.

Democratic legislators were furious at the idea of evictions during a pandemic.

Bush, a young mother of two, experienced homelessness in her 20s. She said she was working at a low-wage position at the time.

Bush, now 45 and weeping, said that he didn't want anyone to experience what he went through. "I don’t care about the circumstances, so I’m going to fight now I’m in a position where I can do something about them."

Waters stated that House leaders should have forced a referendum and Biden shouldn't have been stopped by the warnings of one Supreme Court justice from taking executive action against evictions.

Waters stated that the president should have taken action. Waters vowed to vote the bill back when lawmakers return from recess.

Some areas will experience a spike in evictions beginning Monday. Other jurisdictions will see an uptake in court filings which will lead to evictions within several months.

The administration is working to ensure that renters are not displaced by other means. In June, it released over $1.5 billion in rental aid, which reached nearly 300,000 households. After Biden asked them to, the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture extended their foreclosure-related moratoriums until September for households who live in single-family federally insured homes.

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