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Congress Fiddles- Actually Leaves Town as Millions of Americans Face Eviction

Congress is going, going, gone! Not just home for the weekend, but for an extended, multi-week recess!! It would be nice if one could say this was unbelievable, that in the midst of major negotiations on desperately needed infrastructure investment, and voting rights protections, that so-called public servants would leave town to go on vacation! Unfortunately, this is par for the course for our legislative body.

What is slightly unbelievable, is that Democratic lawmakers would leave town the very weekend that eviction protections expire across the country putting millions at risk of becoming unhoused. The failure to address this travesty lies squarely with the Democrats. Lawmakers have known for a month that congressional action would likely be necessary to extend the moratorium, and yet Pelosi, et. al. took no action. The Biden admin is also guilty, both for kicking the can down the road until literally the day before congress was meant to leave town, as well as more fundamentally, for allowing the possibility of future retaliation by Republicans or SCOTUS to prevent action helping millions of hurting people today.

While we know that both the voting right and infrastructure bills are popular from recent polling, there has been a dearth of polls done recently on the eviction moratorium, in spite of its high profile over the last few weeks, and the expiring deadline known for months. Last year, when polling was done, support was, unsurprisingly sky-high at above 93% in support.

The recent data we do have, comes in the form of census data, which tracks, among other things, housing insecurity. Looking at the data paints a grim picture, with vast swathes of Americans having little confidence they can cover their next rent check, and deeply worried they will face eviction imminently.

Confidence in Ability to Make Next Month's Payment for Renter-Occupied Housing Units:

No Confidence: 11%

Slight Confidence: 17%

Moderate Confidence: 19%

High Confidence: 50%

Likelihood of Have to Leave This House in the Next Two Months Due to Eviction:

Very Likely: 19%

Somewhat Likely: 30%

Not Very Likely: 29%

Not At All Likely: 20%

It’s hard to imagine, with so many people personally in danger of experiencing this tragedy, that support for eviction protections doesn’t remain high among Americans.

This type of mass disruption will likely have a devastating effect on Democrats electoral prospects in the mid-terms, as housing instability, along with increased voter suppression increase apathy and drive down turn-out. People worried about finding a roof for the night rarely have time for national politics. Even if they did, what exactly have the Democrats been doing to earn that vote?

We need to stand in solidarity with Cori Bush, who has experienced being unhoused herself, and the rest of the squad who are desperately trying to brin attention to this dire situation. It’s unclear if the moratorium can be reinstated, but at a bare minimum, the government could actually prioritize getting the money already allocated for renters protections into the hands of the people, less than 10% of which has currently been distributed. In the longer term, we need to reexamine the entire housing market, and bring this necessity away from a purely profit making enterprise. We can choose to stop letting people go unhoused.

To create this more humane world, where the actually government serves the people, it is going to take huge organizing power. Not just political power, but economic power, to challenge the influence of lobbying groups, like those who sued to end the CDC eviction moratorium in the first place. So join us each Tuesday as we grow out power, until we finally make our politicians look out for us instead of their wealthy donors!

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