Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement following Republican objections to the Majority Leader’s unanimous consent request to take up her bill, H.R. 4791, the “Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021,” which would extend the federal eviction moratorium through the end of the year.
“The eviction moratorium ends tomorrow at midnight. That means that millions of families and children could devastatingly lose the roof over their heads at a time when this deadly pandemic is surging once again. Throughout the last 24 hours, I worked with House leadership to respond to President Biden’s unexpected lack of effort and refusal to use his authority to extend the moratorium on evictions. At the very last minute, the Biden Administration indicated that it would be up to the Congress to protect struggling renters and prevent a wave of evictions.
“While I wished that the circumstances were different, I rose to the occasion and swiftly introduced H.R. 4791, the “Protecting Renters from Evictions Act,” to keep families in their homes until December 31, 2021. With the tens of billions of dollars in emergency rental assistance that Congress provided waiting to be distributed to renters and landlords, an extension of the moratorium until the end of the year would have given support and reprieve to families teetering on the brink of homelessness.
“It was and still is my belief that my bill should have been voted on. There was a difference of opinion between me and House Democratic leadership about how we should respond to this emergency. While leadership chose to seek unanimous consent from the Republicans, they did not get it. I wanted leadership to put my bill up for a vote on the Floor under a rule.
“I agree that it was necessary to count the votes of the Members who would have voted in support of my bill, and our latest count did not show we had enough votes. But I was hopeful that once on the Floor, the handful of Members who were unsure of the bill would experience a change of heart and vote ‘yes’ based on the request from the President and the support of the overwhelming majority of the Democratic caucus. I believe we should have fought to our very last breath.
“The evictions process started weeks before the expiration of this moratorium and on Sunday there will be families and children who will end up getting evicted in the middle of a housing crisis with no place to go. I am worried about the children who will be evicted and unable to enroll in school, or those who will be forced to change schools, if the family can even find a place to live.
“We already know that Black, Brown, and low-income communities are some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and threats of eviction. I believe that without eviction protections, homelessness will only increase and families will be more vulnerable to this Delta variant, which has proven to be more contagious and deadly.
“Despite the fact that we were unable to get the bill on the floor and take a vote to see if we could have been successful, as Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I am going to work with my Committee Members and with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone to make every effort to encourage and assist states and local governments in dispensing these resources. I will continue to work with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who has personally committed to me that she will continue to utilize her staff to work with governors and other local officials. I will continue to do everything I can to push for these protections and ensure emergency rental assistance reaches the families and communities most in need.”