Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Eviction Moratorium And Urging State Governments To Better Distribute Emergency Rental Assistance

August 4, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the CDC eviction moratorium in areas with high levels of COVID transmission. He also urged state governments to do a better job of getting that support out the door and into the hands of Americans who need help. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday afternoon, millions of American families were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the Biden Administration announced an extension of the eviction moratorium that expired last month.

According to the CDC, the new ban on evictions will apply for sixty days across regions of the country that are experiencing high levels of COVID infections. In total, roughly 90% of American renters—90%—will be protected by this order, that is what the head of the CDC told me yesterday.

There are so many individuals who helped make this happen. First, I applaud the President, President Biden, and the CDC for taking action to protect American families.

I want to commend Speaker Pelosi. She and I worked closely together to get this done, from our first conversations with the president and the White House on Thursday, on through the weekend and the beginning of this week.

But I also want to recognize the amazing courage of my colleagues, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Mondaire Jones and Rep. Gomez—and above all, Representative Cori Bush.  

Congresswoman Bush knows what it’s like to be evicted. She knows the pain and fear and indignity of being told to get your things and to get out. When you lose your home, you lose everything. Hard to get to a job if you have it. What do the kids do about school? What if there is a local clinic taking care of somebody with a health care problem? You lose your home and that's it. The roof literally and figuratively falls in.

Well, Congresswoman Bush has known this through her own experience, and she took her passion and converted it into effective action. A salute to her. It's a moment of history that shows when you persist you can get things done. For four nights, she slept on the steps of the Capitol, drawing attention to this issue in a way we rarely see from a member of Congress. She made yesterday’s announcement possible.

So, amazing credit lies with Congresswoman Bush and the Americans who joined her in a righteous cause. And, of course, I want to give real credit as well to Senator Brown, our Chairman of the Banking Committee, who worked hard on this issue along with Senator Warren and many others in the Senate.

Now, while yesterday’s announcement by the CDC was very welcome, it is only the first step.

In the weeks ahead, the Administration must continue working with state governments to better distribute emergency rental assistance that Congress has appropriated at the end of last year. The money is there. We in Congress provided it.

I want to call out my state of New York, which has done a poor job at distributing this money. Two weeks ago, along with housing advocates, I called on the state to move things more quickly. A week before that, New York State, along with South Carolina, were the only two states that had sent out no dollars, no dollars. Some of our localities that didn't cede the money to the state have done a better job, like Monroe County where Rochester is, but too much of the money is just sitting up there in Albany. So we need the head of the relevant administrative department in the state, and all of the states, to get that money out fast. An evictions ban is a good thing. It prevents people from being kicked out of their homes. But once the eviction ban ends, if there is not rental assistance, we're back in the same boat. So we need the states to get that money out.

State governments – my state of New York – must do a better job of getting that support out the door and into the hands of Americans who need help.

And one other thing. There is not Treasury bureaucracy in the way. States like Texas – like Monroe County – have been able to get out a lot of the money. The fault lies in the state governments that are not doing this, and they have got to move.