What would you think if I told you that, in a certain country, federal legislators went to enjoy a delicious summer vacation, without protecting millions of poor families from the risk of eviction, in the middle of one of the worst pandemics in the history of humanity?
Would you think that it is a country of the so-called Third World, where the political class is often an elite of millionaires disconnected from the reality of their governed?
What if I told you that this country is known as the United States of America?
That’s right, members of the House of Representatives kicked off their summer vacation recess without agreeing to approve an extension of the tenant eviction moratorium, which could affect 11 million people out of 6 million. families, according to the Aspen Institute.
With impeccable public health logic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had established a moratorium on evictions, but the Supreme Court of Justice ruled in June that the CDC had acted beyond its legal powers.
The White House urged Congress to approve an extension, arguing that the Supreme Court ruling had tied her hands. Without the ability to get the necessary votes, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi took the simpler route: blame the Republicans.
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortés made it clear that the reality was that some Democrats threatened to get on a plane to avoid voting. “We cannot blame the Republicans, if the Democrats have the majority,” she argued.
The lack of legislative action, which would have instructed the CDC to extend the moratorium at least until October 18, will once again put those who have suffered one of the worst blows during the pandemic at risk: minorities of color who represent one of the main support columns of essential workers.
More than 2 million Latino families were already behind in paying their rents even before the pandemic. One in two Hispanic families is afraid of not having enough funds to pay their rent next month.
At the last minute, the Biden administration issued a new, more limited moratorium through the CDC that will protect tenants and rental homeowners living in areas of “high” coronavirus contagion until October 3, mainly due to the Delta variant.
Although welcome, it is a temporary and interim solution. The housing crisis will not be resolved in 60 days because it is rooted in economic disparities that disproportionately affect communities of color. It is time for a comprehensive long-term plan that offers stability to the families of the essential workers who are the backbone of the country.
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