SAMUEL CORUM / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
UNITED STATES – This is the hot topic of the summer. American politicians were trying this Sunday, August 1 to avoid mass expulsions of several million Americans in financial difficulty due to the covid-19 crisis, after the expiration of a moratorium which protected them.
“We are at risk of being evicted,” Aurora, Colorado residents Samantha Pate and Andrew Martinez told TV station KDVR. The couple, with two children, intends to settle temporarily on land they own. The family expects to “live in tents with a wood stove for the winter,” says Andrew Martinez.
More than 10 million people in the United States are behind on their rent payments, the CBPP, an independent research institute, has calculated. And some 3.6 million tenants believe they are at risk of being evicted within two months, according to a study by the statistics office carried out in early July among 51 million tenants.
Parliamentarians are now on vacation
It was Saturday at midnight that a truce in evictions expired, decided almost a year ago for health reasons linked to the coronavirus pandemic, and renewed several times since.
The White House took the parliamentarians by surprise on Thursday, assuring that the health authorities could no longer, for legal reasons, extend this moratorium further, and asking them to legislate urgently. What the elected officials failed to do before the House of Representatives ceased its work for the summer break.
The blockage drew widespread criticism from the ranks of Democratic officials on Sunday. House of Representatives boss Nancy Pelosi and several other Democratic leaders have called on President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium: it’s a ‘moral imperative’ to keep people off the streets, say they said in a joint statement.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for her part, criticized the Biden administration for having waited until the last moment to ask Congress to act, insisting on the injustice of evicting tenants. while several billion dollars of aid intended to at least partially solve the problem of unpaid rents have not been spent.
“We can’t evict people from their homes when our end of the bargain hasn’t been fulfilled,” she blasted on CNN.
A huge envelope is planned, but its distribution is complicated
Earlier, Nancy Pelosi had explained that faced with the difficulties of urgently legislating on the moratorium, some Democrats “decided to focus instead on how to get tenants and landlords the money” provided for in the measures taken in response to the pandemic at the very start of Biden’s tenure.
This is an envelope of 46 billion dollars, intended to settle at least in part the problem of unpaid rents, but the distribution of which is proving to be very laborious, for reasons of bureaucracy in particular. Thus, of the 46 billion dollars planned by the government, including 25 billion disbursed at the beginning of February, only 3 billion arrived at their destination.
A handful of Democratic lawmakers from the party’s most left-wing fringe also continued on Sunday to plead for a recall to Washington of members of the House of Representatives.
Defend Wall Street and Amazon? Yes. Defend people at risk of deportation? No.
“We want the House of Representatives to meet, the Senate can also intervene, the President could issue an order, we must do everything possible,” the member of the House told AFP on Sunday morning August 1. representatives Jamaal Bowman, elected from New York came to the steps of the Capitol to support a small group of young activists who spent the night there. “Evicting people, or making their eviction possible in times of a pandemic is inhumane.”
The elected official is not tender for his Democratic colleagues, the majority in the House of Representatives: “We parliamentarians are quick to defend Wall Street, to defend big business, to make decisions that allow Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson to go into space”.
The restart of the American economy, which does not benefit all households equally, is driving up rents. According to the latest score produced by the specialized site Realtor, between June 2020 and June 2021 the median rent in the United States rose by 8.1%.
See also on the HuffPost: Covid-19: Joe Biden asks US federal employees to either be vaccinated or masked and tested