Congress fails to extend federal eviction moratorium - which ends after July 31 - before going on recess

A woman walks past a wall in Los Angeles that has graffiti reading "Forgive Our Rent"
The national eviction ban ends on July 31, 2021. VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images
  • The House of Representatives on Friday failed to extend the CDC's federal eviction moratorium.

  • House leaders brought an extension up for a unanimous consent vote, which at least one member objected to.

  • House members left for their August recess, and the moratorium expires after tomorrow, affecting millions.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The House of Representatives failed to pass a bill on Friday that would have extended the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction moratorium, which had been in place since September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to expire after Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer brought up the legislation to be voted on by unanimous consent, which was blocked by Republican members of the House.

After the bill failed, Pelosi, Hoyer, and House Majority whip Rep. James Clyburn wrote a statement expressing their disappointment.

"It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue," they wrote after the vote. "We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis."

But others in the Democratic party were critical of their own leadership for not doing enough to extend the moratorium. The House has now entered its August recess, potentially until September 20, 2021, while the moratorium expires tomorrow night.

Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, who had introduced the extension bill and told reporters, "I just thought we should've fought harder."

Pelosi emailed House Democrats early in the day asking them to support the bill, and progressive members of the Democratic Party spent Friday urging their colleagues to sign onto the bill.

"I'm urging you to please hear me out on this issue because as a formerly unhoused Congresswoman, I have been evicted three times myself," Missouri Rep. Cori Bush wrote in a letter to her House colleagues. "...If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities - needlessly contributing to more death and suffering."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she and Rep. Cori Bush, "tried to object to the House adjourning session and force a roll call on whether we should leave," claiming, "They rushed to adjourn before we could get to the floor."

The House is scheduled to reconvene in September, pending any "significant legislation" that could call them into session sooner, which Rep. Hoyer suggested could happen after the failed vote on Friday.

The failure to extend the eviction moratorium came after the White House, at the eleventh hour, asked Congress to enact legislation pertaining to the matter, saying his administration would have "strongly supported" the decision to renew the ban but claimed to be unable to do so citing a ruling from the Supreme Court.

"In June, when CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st, the Supreme Court's ruling stated that 'clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,'" White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

On the House floor on Friday evening, Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, asked for unanimous consent on extending the eviction moratorium before the House adjourned ahead of the deadline at the end of July. The vote failed upon one objection, and the House will reconvene next Tuesday.

"Their statement hit us totally out of the blue, nobody was expecting it," a House Democratic aide granted anonymity to speak candidly told Insider. "Just didn't leave enough time."

Around 6 million Americans are at risk of getting evicted in the coming months, or 16% of all renters, per Census Pulse Survey Data, after the moratorium expires on July 31.

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