Politics Revealed: Dems took millions from real estate developers before allowing eviction moratorium to end
Congress fails to extend eviction moratorium, despite last-minute effort
The bill would have extended the eviction freeze until Oct. 18, which is when the public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 is set to expire. The CDC placed a pause on evictions last September amid economic hardships experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite an emergency appeal from real estate agent associations, landlords and other groups that argued that the CDC had exceeded its authority by imposing a moratorium, the Supreme Court allowed the eviction freeze to remain intact until the end of July.
A sign calling for an extension to a federal eviction moratorium sits near Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) as she spends the night outside the U.S. Capitol on July 31, 2021. Getty Images
As the homes of millions of renters across the U.S. were threatened this week by the White House's and Congress's refusal to extend the eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Democrats' inaction was directly benefiting some of the party's biggest backers in the real estate industry.
Protesters Tape 'Eviction Notice' on Nancy Pelosi's Home as Moratorium Ends
Dozens of activists called on Nancy Pelosi to "immediately call Congress to session to vote to extend the eviction moratorium."About 40 activists arrived outside Pelosi's San Francisco home on Saturday, just hours before the moratorium's last extension expired leaving more than 10 million Americans facing the prospect of being told to leave their homes.
As Andrew Perez and Joel Warnerin The Daily Poster on Tuesday, the chairman of both the real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap and the real estate investment trust Essex Property Trust donated $1 million to the House Majority PAC on June 1, days after the CDC the moratorium until late June.
Chairman George Marcus also donated $263,400 that same month to a committee that benefits the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's campaign, and contributed at least $6.5 million to PACs that work to elect Democrats to the Senate and House.
The Daily Poster suggested that while Marcus and his companies are wealthy—with the chairman part of a group of landlords whose personal fortunes increased by nearly $25 billion since the pandemic began—both Marcus & Millichap and Essex Property Trust stood to benefit from the eviction moratorium being allowed to expire.
Protesters stick 'eviction notice' on Nancy Pelosi's California home as moratorium expires
Around 40 activists protested outside Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home and called on her to push for an extension to the federal eviction moratorium. The moratorium, which expired at the end of July, protected some tenants from being kicked out of their homes. See more stories on Insider's business page. Activists stuck a fake eviction notice on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's California home on Saturday in protest of the federal eviction moratorium coming to an end, according to Newsweek.
Marcus & Millichap, the largest commercial real estate brokerage in North America,that it had a "tough year" in 2020, with sales transactions down 17.9% from 2019. Essex Property Trust, which owns or partially owns more than 60,000 apartments in California and Washington and donated $23.5 million to committees that opposed rent control measures in recent election cycles, reported it was directly impacted by the pandemic and the eviction moratorium.
Essex's "cash delinquency rate" was "higher than the pre-pandemic period, but improved from 4.3% for the three months ended June 30, 2020 to 2.6% for the three months ended June 30, 2021," The Daily Poster.
The company is currently working "with residents to collect such cash delinquencies," and CEO Michael Schall said last week that it expects rent payments to return to normal levels "as more workers enter the workforce and eviction protections lapse."
AOC blames Democrats for letting eviction moratorium expire, says Biden wasn't 'forthright'
'We cannot in good faith blame House Republicans when Democrats have the majority,' New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday.The Democratic-controlled House adjourned Friday without extending the moratorium that was put in place to help renters amid the coronavirus pandemic. It expired Sunday, leaving progressive Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez outraged and demanding that the House return from its August recess.
The reporting bolstered a claim made by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on MSNBC last week as the Democrats failed to vote for an extension of the eviction moratorium, sparking outrage among progressives in CongressReps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
"The reason they're not bringing it for a vote is because some Democrats privately have tried to kill this bill because of special interest of Realtors and other groups," Khanna. "And it is unconscionable that we don't have a vote on the House floor, that we're protecting some members to kill this behind closed doors and aren't being transparent. It's just wrong."
"Real estate developer money unites the Democratic Party," tweeted Jackie Fielder of Daybreak PAC last week as it became clear the Democrats would not keep the moratorium from expiring.
Actually, real estate developer money unites the Democratic Party.
Democrats control Congress. Put Republicans on record. Reconvene Congress now!— Jackie Fielder (@JackieFielder_)
Sara Myklebust of Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor told The Daily Poster that Marcus's donations to Democratic candidates and PACs was part of "a pattern of landlords having close relationships as a result of money and influence."
'Squad' members spend nights outside Capitol to protest end of eviction freeze
Three members of the progressive "Squad" have been staying outside the Capitol in protest of the end of the freeze on evictions implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic. © Provided by Washington Examiner Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley have remained outside the Capitol to protest the end of the eviction moratorium, which expired at midnight Saturday night. "It's 2 AM on Sunday. We haven't slept since Thursday night. The eviction moratorium expired, so we're now in an eviction emergency.
"It's not shocking, because we have seen this pattern again and again," Myklebust told the outlet. "What is shocking is that millions of people are at risk of not just becoming homeless, but also getting a deadly disease."
As Common Dreamslast week, 4.2 million people across the U.S. say they are likely to face an eviction or foreclosure in the near future, and (pdf) by epidemiologists at the University of California in Los Angeles showed that unhoused people are up to 50% more likely to die from Covid-19 than people who aren't facing homelessness.
In addition to Marcus's financial backing of Democrats, The Daily Posterdetailed a $2.3 million donation from private equity firm The Blackstone Group to the Senate Majority PAC and the bundling of hundreds of thousands of dollars by lobbyists for real estate interests for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
Meanwhile, advocates for reinstating the moratorium have continued to demand Democrats—both in the White House and Congress—take immediate action to stave off the crisis.
"In our interconnected economy, it is simply not an option to abandon so many Americans to financial ruin,"Morris Pearl, chair of Patriotic Millionaires. "This isn't just bad for tenants behind on rent—in the long run it's bad for landlords too."
"Letting millions of Americans be evicted over the next few months would be a disaster for the entire country, and Congress and the White House have a responsibility to stop this looming catastrophe," Pearl added.
Biden’s Eviction Moratorium Extension Is Executive Overreach .
Presidents do have broad authority to deal with emergencies. But what Biden has done exceeds any such justification.Yet that is exactly what President Joseph Biden has just done.