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Elizabeth Warren and Cori Bush are fighting an 'extremist' Supreme Court on the eviction ban by introducing a bill to keep renters in their homes until the pandemic is over

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Elizabeth Warren and Cori Bush
Elizabeth Warren and Cori Bush. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Cori Bush unveiled a bill to protect renters from eviction during the ongoing pandemic.

  • It would allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services to automatically implement an eviction ban.

  • This comes after the Supreme Court struck down Biden's eviction ban extension in August.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

After the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden's ban on evictions, progressive lawmakers said they would not give up on protecting renters during the pandemic. On Tuesday, they followed through on that promise.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Missouri Rep. Cori Bush unveiled the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 to "enact an urgently needed nationwide eviction moratorium," according to a press release. The bill, supported by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, would allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) to automatically implement a national residential eviction moratorium in the interest of public health, which Bush called during a press conference "lifesaving legislation."

"Thanks to an extremist SCOTUS, evictions are now on the rise," Warren said during the press conference. "We can avoid further exacerbating this crisis if Congress can step up now and pass legislation that keeps families in their homes through the duration of this emergency."

The Supreme Court ruled in August that HHS does not have the authority to mandate an eviction moratorium, and according to the bill text, the Democrats' legislation would amend section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to grant HHS the permanent authority to institute an eviction ban.

As the bill lays out, the HHS would implement an eviction that would:

  • Be automatic, meaning no individuals would have to apply;

  • Apply to all residential eviction filings and judgments;

  • Allow the HHS Secretary to establish moratorium exceptions necessary to protect the health and safety of others;

  • And remain in effect at least 60 days after the pandemic ends.

On August 3, Biden's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new eviction ban following pressure from progressives, after a nationwide ban had just lapsed on July 31. Progressive lawmakers were so enraged by the July lapse of the ban that some of them, including Bush, slept on the steps of the Capitol until the CDC issued the most recent 60-day moratorium that was struck down.

Biden had extended the CDC moratorium despite anticipating that it would face legal challenges after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the nationwide eviction ban was unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 decision last month, the Supreme Court's majority affirmed that ruling, reiterating that only Congress, not the CDC, had the power to "specifically authorize" a "federally imposed eviction moratorium."

The court's three liberal justices dissented, arguing that Congress has allocated billions in federal aid to help landlords cover rent, and that an eviction ban isn't as extreme as government-imposed coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Congressional Democrats, including Bush, swiftly denounced the court's move and pledged to take action.

On Tuesday, Bush said the moratorium was "shamefully struck down with a partisan Supreme Court."

About 7.4 million Americans are at risk of eviction in the coming months -about 16% of all renters, according to Census Pulse Survey Data. And given the surge of the Delta variant, there isn't any way to know when the pandemic will end and how long the proposed eviction ban would need to last.

Insider reported on the reasons why the Supreme Court voted to expose millions to eviction, given that multiple courts ruled the government did not hold the authority to impose a nationwide ban. But a federal judge recognized the concerns Bush, Warren and other progressives had, and said while she did not think the ban was legal, she would uphold it given that the pandemic is not over.

A date is not yet set for when the Democrats' bill will be brought to the House floor.

"Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks," Bush said in a statement. "Nearly 40 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 670,000 people have died of this virus, and countless are living permanently disabled from its aftereffects. As the Delta variant continues to force individuals to quarantine, close schools, and stifle businesses, we must do all we can to save lives."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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