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COVID Impact: Rep. Barbara Lee Calls for Extension of Eviction Moratorium

OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) -- Joining a chorus of voices growing since the eviction moratorium expired, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, called upon the White House and the Centers for Disease Control on Sunday to extend it.

"The pandemic is not over," Lee said, in a news release issued Sunday night by her office. "With the dangerous Delta variant spreading widely, low-income communities -- especially Black and Brown communities -- are still at risk of losing their homes and ending up on the street. In line with the executive power granted during a public health crisis, the White House and CDC should immediately extend the eviction moratorium."

Lee, who co-chairs the Majority Leader's Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, said her district and California has been at the epicenter of the nation's housing crisis. With the moratorium lapsing, an estimated 11 million Americans could be thrown out onto the streets as COVID-19 begins to surge again all over the country.

"This is more crucial now than ever because evictions will not only leave families without a roof over their head, it has the potential to worsen the spread of COVID-19," she said. "Individual states should not have to fend for themselves. The Biden administration and the CDC can fix this with the swipe of a pen by extending the moratorium."

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Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lee's statement comes after Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, started sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building in protest of moratorium lapsing. Bush took the lapse personally, as she was once houseless, living in her car with her two children. It's also why she introduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights, which intended to fix the crisis by 2025.

Bush's protest has drawn other members of congress to join her, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NYC) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis). Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the house Financial Service Committee, said over the weekend she'd reconvene the committee to begin the process of extending the moratorium.

But House Majority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, signaled over the weekend that the house would be unable to extend the moratorium due to lack of Republican support. Since Bush started her protest, Pelosi has been calling on the CDC, who originally instituted the moratorium, to extend it.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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