Dear Colleague: Democrats’ Next Steps to Prevent Evictions

July 31, 2021
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

The fight to ensure that every family has the dignity and comfort of a home is a moral imperative of perhaps unsurpassed gravity. 

Nearly a year ago, the CDC established a moratorium on evictions, which has served as a critical backstop to prevent renters and their families who suffered hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic from being evicted.   The CDC later extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st.  However, when the CDC extended the moratorium, it was taken to court by the Georgia and Alabama Association of Realtors.  The case then went to the Supreme Court.  Those of us who wanted the extension were disappointed with the statement of Justice Kavanaugh, who stated that while he would vote for the extension once, he would not extend it again.

On Thursday morning, the Biden Administration announced that they would not extend the federal eviction moratorium after this ruling.

In light of the moratorium being based on the COVID public health emergency, for Justice Kavanaugh to say that he would not allow a further extension of the moratorium, not knowing what will happen regarding COVID-19 in a month, defies reason, science and the delta variant.  Nonetheless, the President told Congress to extend the moratorium immediately.  It was obvious that the Senate would not be able to do so.  Recognizing this, some in our Caucus have now chosen to focus instead on how we could get the money allocated in the December Omnibus and the Biden American Rescue Plan in the hands of the renters and landlords.  Overwhelmingly, our Members support extending the moratorium.  Universally, our Members demand that the $46.5 billion provided by Congress be distributed expeditiously to renters and landlords.

Members have asked for information regarding the distribution of the funds so far.  The data that is available is based on the first tranche of money: $24 billion, up until June 30.  You can check your state and locality’s spending with this link.  While states and localities may contend that the process may differ from state to state, the horrible consequence are the same: families will suffer, the public health emergency will be exacerbated and the economic situation for families will worsen.

The Senate is in session and, as I stated yesterday, the House is on call.  But the House passing the eviction moratorium without the Senate acting does not extend the moratorium.  Nonetheless, a moratorium without the money is not a solution for families and landlords.  Families still at risk of being evicted and landlords will suffer unless the money goes out.  Our legislation directs the CDC to extend moratorium until the public health emergency period expires on October 18, 2021.  This would give us time to get the money out and to make the COVID-19 case to the Supreme Court that the urgent need for the moratorium has not gone away.  Hopefully, the situation will improve by then, but so far, it has not.  Sadly, the situation has worsened since June 29, since Justice Kavanaugh declared that irrespective of the public health situation, he was not going to vote to extend the moratorium.

The Department of Treasury, which transferred the funds to the states and communities earlier this year, has offered to provide a Members briefing early next week.  More information to follow.

As we come to terms as a Caucus with this challenge legislatively, we must never forget the horror of eviction.  The image of a family being thrown out of their home – cribs and personal belongings on the street, children in fear and distress, parents struggling to find basic shelter – is one that burns forever in the minds of those who have seen or experienced this.  This is a challenge to our conscience. 

The best way to keep our families safe and healthy is for this money to be distributed immediately.  Again, please view this link to see where your community is on the first $24 billion tranche.

Let us thank Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters for insisting that the extension be included in our year-end omnibus and for her persistent commitment to keeping the vulnerable stably housed.

Thank you for your leadership and compassion.