Democrats Introduce Bill to Suspend Evictions Until COVID-19 Crisis Ends
Two Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill introduced legislation on Tuesday that would implement a national eviction moratorium effective until 60 days after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Speaking at a joint news conference, Congresswoman Cory Bush (MO) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) unveiled the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021, which grants the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services – Xavier Becerra – the discretionary authority to permanently suspend evictions until the health crisis has passed.
Millions of renters are staring down the barrel of homelessness because the United States Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s eviction ban last month. That left it up to Congress to fix the problem, which Bush and Warren are determined to tackle.
“Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks,” said Bush. “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. That starts with keeping every person safely housed. The Keeping Renters Safe of 2021 will save lives and give us more time: time for renters to receive financial assistance, time for the economy to fully recover, and time for the pandemic to finally come to an end. I’m humbled to introduce this critical, actionable legislation with Senator Warren and so many of my colleagues.”
The Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 is less than three pages long and states that stays on evictions “be automatic, without requiring individuals to apply for coverage; and apply to all residential eviction filings, hearings, judgments, and execution of judgments, except that the Secretary of Health and Human Services may establish moratorium exceptions necessary to protect the health and safety of others.”
It adds that the moratorium “shall remain in effect at least 60 days after the conclusion of the public health emergency described in such subsection, including any extensions thereof.”