The House Representative camped out for three nights as part of a five-day demonstration to extend the CDC's moratorium period on rental evictions.
For three nights, House Representative Cori Bush slept on the steps of the United States Capitol in protest of a quickly lapsing moratorium period on evictions. The federal measure, enacted in order to protect renters during the pandemic, was set to end on July 31. However, following the five-day demonstration by activists and other Democratic lawmakers, the Biden administration announced a 60-day eviction ban for US counties with “substantial and high levels of community transmission." The ban will last until October 3, thanks in particular to Bush, who herself has experienced homelessness in the past, The Washington Post reports.
Representative Bush affirmed as she wiped away tears following the success of the demonstrations, "We just did the work—just by loving folks—to keep millions in their homes." She was surrounded by activists sitting on the Capitol steps. The Squad member has since received high praise from her progressive peers as well as civil rights activists for leading the demonstration. For instance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, "Thank you to everyone who kept a spotlight on this—particularly Cori Bush who understands what it’s like to lose your home and turned passion into action."
When Bush's child was only a year old, they were forced to move into their vehicle. The now-Representative had to return to work four weeks after her pregnancy as she desperately needed the money. "I thought, 'This is very temporary, maybe a couple of days, and then somebody will hear about this and someone will give us [a lead] on a place or a basement to stay in, something will work out.' It just didn’t happen for a while," she shared in an interview with St. Louis Magazine. "I remember we had all of our clothing in trash bags, and we had a playpen—the kind you can break down—and that’s what my children slept in, in the back of our Jeep. It was just a really difficult time, and I was still working full time. I actually went back to work four weeks after I had my daughter. I couldn’t make it six weeks, because we needed the money. Nobody knew that I didn’t have a home and I was sleeping in my car."
On Friday night, I came to the Capitol with my chair. I refused to accept that Congress could leave for vacation while 11 million people faced eviction.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) August 3, 2021
For 5 days, we’ve been out here, demanding that our government acts to save lives.
Today, our movement moved mountains.
It is evident that her own lived experience of homelessness informs her actions as a lawmaker and an activist. Bush quickly became the face of the recent demonstration, organizing fiercely on-ground and on social media. She was also responsible for inviting fellow Squad members Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Jimmy Gomez. Despite the attention she received, she noted, "This is not ‘The Cori Show.' This is a group of people who just love people and know that it’s our work as humans, regardless of title to end human suffering."
We had no question whether you were on our side @BernieSanders. Thank you for showing up.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) August 2, 2021
Our movement will save lives. We need all hands on deck for a federal eviction moratorium. pic.twitter.com/PXnF2UQ0pK
The Centers for Disease Control announced the 60-day extension on the moratorium period Tuesday evening. Now, renters in approximately 90% of the US qualify for the new moratorium as the new delta variant of the virus quickly spreads throughout the country. Furthermore, the extension will help the administration distribute funds in rental assistance. Although Congress approved a total of $46 billion in emergency funds in both December and February to help tenants pay their rent, fund disbursal has been slow-moving.