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Jayapal Statement on Biden Administration’s New Eviction Moratorium

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the President’s action today will save lives. It’s clear this would not have happened if not for the advocacy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon the Biden administration’s forthcoming release of a new moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. 

“We applaud the White House and the CDC for issuing this new eviction moratorium today. This is a huge victory, and we laud the White House for listening to the clarion call of our members, our colleagues, and communities around the country. The President understands that we must keep people in their homes, and we thank him for acting. It is not an exaggeration to say that the President’s action today will save lives.

“It’s clear this would not have happened if not for the advocacy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Our members have been pushing for months for the moratorium to be continued to protect people from eviction, including issuing a statement to this effect last week, and continuing to advocate for the House to act. That culminated in the urgent direct action led by Progressive Caucus Member Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), who galvanized national attention and called on Washington to govern with moral clarity. As a lifelong organizer, I am so proud that we have committed, clear-eyed activists like Rep. Bush in Congress who are leading the way. We can see that it gets results.

“This executive action will provide lifesaving relief from the imminent threat of homelessness for millions of people around the country, and ensure families do not lose their homes just as the deadly Delta variant is surging. This also buys time for states and cities to distribute the $46 billion in rental assistance — and for Congress to act.

“We ask leadership to reconvene the House so that we can work to find a longer term solution not only to the eviction crisis. We also need to ensure that the upcoming expiration of other pandemic protections, like the student loan pause, doesn’t throw working families into chaos once again. What happened this weekend cannot be repeated. The White House has done what we asked and given us time to act — we need to use it.” 

Today’s announcement follows months of advocacy by Progressive Caucus members for a solution to the eviction crisis, including repeated overtures to the Biden administration. Beginning in January, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) led a group of 63 lawmakers asking the incoming Biden administration to prioritize housing security. In May, Rep. Bush led members in asking the CDC directly to extend and strengthen the eviction moratorium. In June, Reps. Pressley, Gomez, and Bush led another letter to President Biden and the CDC, and Reps. Pressley and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) re-introduced legislation to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the pandemic. And through her role in the Financial Services Committee, Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued multiple calls to keep people in their homes by halting foreclosures and extending eviction protections, and met just last week with Treasury Secretary Yellen to discuss disbursal of rent assistance funds to state and local governments.

The members have also advocated continually for the House of Representatives to reconvene and pass legislation to extend the eviction moratorium. After the House failed to pass legislation to extend the moratorium through December 31, Congresswoman Bush sat down on the steps of the Capitol with a camping chair and a commitment to preventing millions of people from eviction. She has remained there since, and been joined by several CPC and congressional colleagues, along with hundreds of community members from D.C. The Progressive Caucus was the first congressional caucus to call for action from the White House last week, in advance of the expiration of the moratorium.