Millions of American renters on Sunday were at risk of being forced from their homes, after a pandemic-related U.S. government ban on evictions expired at midnight.
The expiration is a blow to President Joe Biden who had made a last-ditch request to Congress on Thursday to extend the moratorium, citing the raging Delta variant.
On Friday, the House of Representatives adjourned without reviewing tenant protections after a Republican congressman blocked a bid to extend it by unanimous consent until October 18th.
Democratic Representative Cori Bush and others spent Friday night outside the U.S. Capitol to call attention to the issue.
BUSH: "This is not ok, we cannot allow humans – 7 million of them possibly – to be sent out to the streets. We, as a country, have not handled the crisis we have right now."
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren arrived on Saturday to support the protest, noting that Congress had approved $46.5 billion in rental assistance, but that the distribution of that money to renters was moving too slow.
WARREN: "We still have tens of billions of dollars that is unspent. I don't want to spend that money after people have been moved out of their homes. I want to use that money to keep people from being moved out of their homes."
According to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, more than 15 million people in 6.5 million U.S. households are currently behind on rental payments, collectively owing more than $20 billion to landlords.