Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday slammed the White House and her Democratic colleagues for allowing the eviction moratorium to expire, urging party leaders to reconvene the House to extend the protections.
“We have to really just call a spade a spade — we cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have a majority,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I think there’s a couple of issues here,” she said.
“First of all, you are absolutely correct in that the House and House leadership had the opportunity to vote to extend the moratorium, and there were many, and there was, frankly, a handful, of conservative Democrats in the House that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote,” the progressive lawmaker told host Jake Tapper.
The federal eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the coronavirus pandemic expired at midnight Saturday after the House left town for its August recess.
Millions of renters and homeowners are now at risk of being removed from their homes.
The Supreme Court started the clock ticking on the July 31 deadline when it ruled in June that the CDC overstepped its authority with the moratorium.
Despite the looming deadline, the White House did not call on Congress to extend the moratorium until Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez said the administration put the House in a “needlessly difficult situation.”
“There is something to be said for the fact that this court order came down on the White House a month ago, and the White House waited until the day before the House adjourned to release a statement asking Congress to extend the moratorium,” she said on CNN.
Ocasio-Cortez said the House Financial Services Committee, which has a say over housing, questioned the Biden administration about where it stood on the matter.
”[Administration officials] were not being really forthright about that advocacy and that request until the day before the House adjourned, and so, the House was put into a, I believe, a needlessly difficult situation,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who sits on the committee.
The New York Democrat said the House can still fix the error.
“The fact of the matter is that the problem is here, the House should reconvene and call this vote and extend the moratorium,” she said. “There’s about 11 million people that are behind on their rent at risk of eviction. That’s one out of every six renters in the United States.”
Three members of the “Squad” — Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — slept on the Capitol’s steps over the weekend to impress upon the House to return to session and extend the moratorium.
AOC, who is a member of the far-left group, did not participate, but she did post videos supporting her allies.
The sleepover was mocked by some critics as a “Hooverville” — referring to the shantytowns erected during the Great Depression — and its participants compared to Penn Station’s homeless lying in the corridors of the transportation hub.