Weekend Review: Federal Moratorium on Evictions Has Expired
The Delta variant is surging and excessive heat threatens part of the country. Still, Congress has failed to extend the federal moratorium on rental evictions before leaving for August recess. More than 3.5 million Americans reported they could face eviction in the next two months.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a “final extension” of the federal ban on evictions last month. The Supreme Court then ruled that explicit authorization from Congress would be needed for any additional extensions.
The White House implored Congress to “extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.” Biden’s administration remains “committed to doing everything in its power to keep people safely and securely housed,” according to their statement. Press Secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that housing is “essential to the health, well-being and dignity of all of us.”
So far, efforts by some progressive Democrats to compel their colleagues in the House to extend the federal moratorium have been unsuccessful.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo) camped out on the steps of the US Capitol on Friday night. in an effort to see the federal moratorium extended, even after other members of Congress left. A group of about 40 activists also visited the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday, placing a fake eviction notice on her door.
“Dear Speaker Pelosi, you are hereby given immediate notice that millions of Americans will face eviction tonight when the eviction moratorium expires,” the note read. They hoped to compel Pelosi to reconvene Congress “to vote to extend the eviction moratorium and keep people in their homes.” They targeted her specifically because of “how out of touch she is,” one member said.
Florida Becomes US Epicenter for Covid as Governor DeSantis Bans Mask Mandates in Schools
Florida now accounts for more than a fifth of new cases of Covid-19 in the US. The state reported 21,683 new cases on Saturday, the highest total for one day since the beginning of the pandemic.
On Friday, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order barring school districts from requiring masks. DeSantis said he disagrees with the recommendations of the CDC that all school-aged children should wear face-coverings while in school. On the contrary, he believes the federal government “has no right” to enforce mask mandates and has prevented local governments in his state from deciding whether their schools would benefit from a mandate.
Many DeSantis supporters are highly concerned about perceived power grabs by the federal government. However, they do not seem alarmed by this executive order which directly disempowers local governments.
Notably, the CDC’s recommendation was not a mandate, but a set of guidelines for re-opening schools. The governor’s executive order removes jurisdiction from local elected officials and school districts, taking the decision into his individual hands. Notably, DeSantis cited a federal mask mandate as the reason for his executive order, though the federal government has not mandated masks.
The Florida Education Association, representing 150,000 members, has called on DeSantis to allow local elected officials to decide what is best for their districts. “Instead of focusing on the issues that divide Floridians when it comes to health and safety, we would like to see Gov. DeSantis lead on the issues where we can all agree,” the association wrote.
Approximately 48.7 percent of Floridians are fully vaccinated, according to NBC’s vaccination tracker. Experts maintain that even vaccines with lower efficacy have shown to be nearly 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. All of the vaccines
Simone Biles Withdraws from Floor Exercise Final at Tokyo Olympics
Olympic superstar gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from the floor exercise final at the Tokyo Olympics. She gives up a chance to hold on to the Olympic crown for the benefit of her health.
Biles cited unnamed mental health challenges as well as an issue called ‘the twisties‘ that affects gymnasts. The phenomenon can create a feeling of being lost in the air, causing confusion and stress.
Since withdrawing, Biles has been in the stands cheering on her teammates. MyKayla Skinner stepped in for Biles and finished second, taking home silver in the women’s gymnastics vault final. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade won gold, making history for the country with a first in women’s artistic gymnastics.