The House adjourned Friday for summer recess without passing legislation to extend a nationwide ban on evictions that is set to expire Saturday, prompting outrage from the progressive Squad and an overnight protest at the Capitol.
About 40 activists headed to Pelosi’s home on Saturday to tape an “eviction notice” on her door to remind the speaker that millions of Americans will be facing eviction starting this weekend while she sleeps comfortably in her posh home.
“The reason that we’re at her house is that she has a beautiful mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco, and it shows how out of touch she is with the people that are facing a situation [of eviction],” Christin Evans, one of the activists outside of Pelosi’s home, told Fox News.
Evans says the housing and homeless crisis was already bad in San Francisco but coronavirus made it worse with people losing their jobs and facing medical emergencies.
“We wanted to essentially send her a message that we want her to reconvene Congress to take a vote [to extend] the eviction moratorium,” Evans told Fox News.
It was not clear whether Pelosi was home at the time of protest. If so, she did not come out to address the activists.
The House adjourned Friday for a prolonged summer recess without taking a roll call vote on extending the eviction moratorium after the White House made clear Thursday it will allow the ban to expire.
The Biden Administration argued that a recent Supreme Court decision meant the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) couldn’t extend the moratorium unilaterally past July 31, and therefore the White House called on Congress to take action “without delay.”
Pelosi said she thought the CDC could pass an extension on its own, which meant the House was scrambling Friday to find a last-minute remedy following the Biden Administration’s announcement. Regardless, Pelosi pledged Friday to “find a solution.”
“We’re not going away from this issue, whether it’s now or shortly thereafter,” Pelosi said Friday.
The progressive Squad was outraged by the recess Friday, with Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., leading an overnight protest on the Capitol steps.
“We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead,” Bush tweeted Saturday.
The House Friday tried to pass legislation to protect renters from evictions by unanimous consent, but an objection was made by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., that sunk the attempt. That means if the House wants to pass the extension a roll call vote is needed.
A spokesperson for Pelosi called the effort by Republicans to block Friday’s quick passage “an act of pure cruelty.”
“Ensuring every American has a roof overhead is a fundamental value that unites the Democratic Party and that personally drives the Speaker,” the Pelosi spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News on Saturday. “Speaker Pelosi led a relentless campaign to extend the CDC eviction moratorium. In an act of pure cruelty, Republicans blocked this measure — callously leaving children and families out on the streets.”
More than 15 million people living in the U.S. are behind on their rental payments and could face eviction when the moratorium lapses at midnight, according to a new study published Wednesday by the Aspen Institute and COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project. Collectively, those households – a majority of which are low-income and suffered financially during the pandemic – owe an estimated $20 billion in rent, figures published by the National Equity Atlas show.
At the same time, landlords have been crushed by the moratorium; though many are no longer collecting rent, they’re still on the hook for taxes, maintenance expenses and other bills. On average, tenants owe about $3,000 in unpaid rent to landlords.
The impending problems have been confounded by difficulty in distributing the $46 billion in federal aid to renters and landlords that Congress approved between December and March. Over the course of the first half of the year, officials doled out just $3 billion – roughly 6.6% of the $46 billion program intended to keep millions of renters in their homes.
In total, the program has provided relief to a fraction of the 1.2 million households that have reported being “very likely to face eviction in the next two months,” the Treasury Department said last week.
A Pelosi spokesperson said Saturday that the speaker and Biden are “urging state and local governments to immediately disburse the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance approved by the Democratic Congress, so that many families can avoid eviction.”
Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.