White House praises Rep. Cori Bush on eviction awareness, more work needed for long-term solution

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Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks with reporters as she camps outside the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, as anger and frustration has mounted in Congress after a nationwide eviction moratorium expired at midnight Saturday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

ST. LOUIS- The debate over whether to revive the moratorium on evictions during the pandemic was deeply personal for Missouri congresswoman Cori Bush. Roughly two decades ago, she lived in a Ford Explorer with her two children after being evicted. That experience led the Democrat to camp outside the U.S. Capitol to pressure President Joe Biden and Congress to act. She won. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new eviction moratorium that will last until Oct. 3.

“I don’t think anyone could hear Congresswoman Bush’s personal story and experience and see her advocacy and passion and not be moved by that. I know a number of members of congress were moved as well,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday morning while adding that Biden had pushed for a moratorium extension in January.

The new moratorium already faces legal scrutiny, as there are questions about the CDC’s authority to act.

Psaki said the new moratorium is limited in scope to counties with higher substantial COVID-19 case rates and is not meant as a permanent solution. Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that a big problem is getting money already earmarked for rental assistance out to those who need it is a major hurdle.

“The $50 billion in assistance to renters that congress approved needs to get out the door and actually get to renters and that is a huge chunk of change and it goes to people who do need the assistance and that’s what we ought to do here and make sure it actually gets in their hands,” Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley told FOX2 Wednesday.

“Not much of that money has gotten into the hands of renters who need it right now. That process needs to speed up and that substantial relief needs to get to renters,” Hawley said.

The city of St. Louis will co-sponsor in-person assistance clinics on August 20, from 10am – 6pm and August 21, 10am – 2pm, at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. 

St. Louis residents in need of rental and utility assistance can dial 2-1-1, call 800-427-4626 or email 211cares@stl.unitedway.org

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