Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) backed up her beliefs with a sleeping bag Friday night as she prepared to camp out in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the end of the federal eviction moratorium that helped Americans hang on to their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.
The moratorium expires Saturday, but Bush is committed to keep fighting.
The Biden administration has taken no action to extend the protection. And Democrats failed on Friday to push through a last-minute extension of the moratorium, then left town for a seven-week recess without a vote.
“Many of my Democratic colleagues chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes,” she tweeted outside the Capitol on Friday night. “I’ll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We’ve still got work to do.”
Friday night she sent a letter to her colleagues asking them to join her on the Capitol campout.
Bush, who was once homeless, introduced a resolution Wednesday calling on Congress to commit to ending homelessness in America by 2025.
Her resolution, dubbed the Unhoused Bill of Rights, demands that the federal government declare homelessness a public health emergency and make significant investments in creating more affordable housing and supportive services for unhoused people.
“The unhoused crisis in our country is a public health emergency, and a moral and policy failure at every level of our government,” said Bush, who is the first Black woman in Congress to represent Missouri. “I know the daily trauma and stress that comes with the perpetual instability of not having a safe place to live.”
The end of the moratorium could deliver untold suffering to a massive number of families. More than 3.6 million adults reported that they were likely less than two months away from eviction as of June, including 2 million households with children, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey.
Supporters praised Bush’s protest on Twitter.