Congresswoman Cori Bush Leads House Colleagues in Calling on the CDC to Strengthen and Extend the Federal Eviction Moratorium
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) led nearly 30 members of Congress in sending 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 the letter, Congresswoman Cori Bush and her colleagues propose a universal moratorium that would apply to all stages of the eviction process and would be expanded to include no-fault evictions and evictions at the end of the lease term.
“As you know, Black and brown communities have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic due to the compounding effects of wage, housing, and health discrimination. Communities across the country have benefited from the federal moratorium. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an estimated 9 million people are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction,” the members wrote. “Despite the CDC’s federal moratorium, tens of thousands of people across the United States still risk being evicted from their homes due to loopholes in the policy and misinformation.”
The current federal moratorium applies only to individuals earning less than $99,000 annually or couples earning less than $198,000. The moratorium only extends protections for issues of non-payment. Landlords across the country have exploited loopholes within local, state and federal eviction moratoria to evict thousands of people, despite the ongoing threat of this pandemic.
Working in close partnership with national and local advocacy organizations like the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Congresswoman Cori Bush and her House colleagues proposed the following to the CDC:
- Establish a universal moratorium for the duration of the global health emergency. The new order should remain in place until the global health crisis is over. Establishing a more expansive deadline for ending the protections will help ease the confusion, fear, and uncertainty felt by millions of renters still recovering from the ongoing economic and health crisis. Furthermore, the new order should cover all tenants without requiring them to “apply” for the protection, and the current order requires tenants to submit a declaration to their landlord before receiving the protections of the order. This means that only those tenants that know about the order are protected, leaving the most vulnerable tenants at risk of eviction. Undocumented people are at an especially higher risk of eviction because they fear detention or deportation when applying for this protection. If the declaration requirement remains, all landlords must be required to notify their tenants of the order and to attest that they have not received a declaration when filing an eviction action.
- Apply the order to all stages of the eviction process. A new order should explicitly bar all stages of the eviction process including notice, filing, hearing, judgment, and physical eviction. Because evictions are not allowed until the moratorium expires, the only purpose for allowing landlords to file eviction proceedings is to give landlords the power to pressure, scare, or intimidate renters into leaving their homes.
- Expand the order to cover all eviction processes. The new order should clarify that it covers all evictions including no fault evictions and evictions at the end of the lease term. We recommend extending the order’s reach beyond non-payment evictions to minimize the spread of COVID-19. It is essential that individuals and families remain in their homes through the duration of this public health emergency, and until a majority of the U.S. has been vaccinated. A narrowly construed exception for serious health and safety violations should be the only exception to the moratorium.
“We must remain vigilant and steadfast in our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our communities,” the members continued. “The Biden administration has worked diligently to ensure widespread vaccinations, and today nearly 160 million adults over age 18 have received at least one dose of a vaccine. This is tremendous progress, but there is still much work to be done to expand vaccine uptake, mitigate the spread of a virus that continues to claim lives daily, increase employment, and ensure that direct cash relief we provided as part of the American Rescue Plan makes its way into the hands of regular, everyday people—particularly Black and brown communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and economic crisis. We have a long way to go before we relax federal restrictions on evictions.”
The letter is co-signed by nearly 30 members of the House of Representatives: Karen Bass (CA-37), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), André Carson (IN-07), Judy Chu (CA-27), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Levin (MI-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Marie Newman (IL-03), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-14), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24)
A PDF of the letter can be found here.
Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.