Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a member of the far-left “Squad,” said Friday that her fellow House Democrats and the rest of Congress have let millions of renters face eviction because they are in the pockets of real estate agents.
Ms. Pressley, of Massachusetts, said during a House Financial Services Committee hearing that she has watched concern over the evictions fade to the point that not enough Democrats are backing legislation that would bring back a national moratorium on evictions. The Supreme Court ended the moratorium last month, saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which repeatedly extended the ban, had exceeded its authority.
Ms. Pressley said she wondered why Democrats, who control Congress, weren’t pushing to bring back the ban.
“Then I discovered that the National Association of Realtors was the largest PAC donor to candidates in the last election cycle,” she said, “and suddenly that shift made sense.”
According to Open Secrets, a Washington organization that tracks the influence of money in politics, the National Association of Realtors donated $3.6 million last year to Democratic congressional candidates and $3.4 million to Republicans.
Ms. Pressley’s comments reflected the frustration of the House Democrats’ left wing toward the caucus’ more moderate members on a variety of issues, including the moratorium.
A Census Bureau survey last month found that 6% of renters nationwide — more than 3.5 million people — say they are “likely” or “very likely” to face eviction.
The eviction ban, originally enacted by Congress in March 2020, was supposed to last four months, but the CDC extended it repeatedly.
In June, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to leave the eviction moratorium in place.
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said he thought the government had overreached, although he voted with the majority leaving the moratorium intact until July 31, the expiration date of the eviction ban at that time.
In the order, Justice Kavanaugh said the CDC would need congressional authority to extend the ban beyond July 31.
The CDC then extended the moratorium through October, citing the surging and highly contagious delta variant, but the Supreme Court nixed it on Aug. 26.
“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened,” the court wrote.