With the national moratorium on evictions by landlords expiring at midnight, members of Congress on Saturday expressed frustration—sometimes angrily—that no one has acted to preserve it. House Democrats tried to pass legislation extending the ban on Friday night but failed, ABC reports. "We are only hours away from a fully preventable housing crisis," Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday in a floor speech. "We thought that the White House was in charge," Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters said on CNN, per the AP. But the White House said a Supreme Court ruling rendered President Biden powerless to head off the expiration and called on Congress to do it with legislation. A group of Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, nevertheless sent a letter to Biden and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky insisting the CDC "leverage every authority available" to extend its moratorium.
Some lawmakers were enraged that Biden threw the issue to them at the last minute, when they would be unable to approve legislation in time to protect renters. To draw attention to the urgency, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush had spent the night on the Capitol steps, per WRAL. The Missouri lawmaker said she's been evicted three times and had to live in her car with her children. "We need the powers that be to understand that we're not going to let this go quietly," Bush said, "when the lives of actual people that we're supposed to represent, like actual whole people, like human beings, are actually at risk by this policy decision or the lack of one." More than 3.6 million people could face eviction if the moratorium is not extended. "The president should have moved on it," said Waters, who plans to try again on legislation when Congress returns from recess, if needed. "I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through, ever," Bush said. (Read more evictions stories.)