Cori Bush steers progressives to win on eviction crisis

Cori Bush steers progressives to win on eviction crisis

4th August 2021 Off By adpublisher

“You did this,” a jubilant Schumer told Bush and her group of allied Democrats after jogging across the Capitol plaza as the news broke. He bear-hugged Bush and Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t ruled out a primary challenge to him next year, declaring: “You guys are fabulous.”

As Bush continued her protest through Tuesday, she got a boost from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was pushing Biden privately. Pelosi spent the weekend phone banking with the White House, including chatting with Biden, pressing the administration to extend the moratorium. Notably, Bush’s strategy shifted over the weekend to align with Pelosi, going from calling for a House vote that was doomed to fail to pushing for the White House to act.

Bush, 45, is the latest member of the group to capture national headlines and has arguably delivered the most impactful result since the Squad first formed in 2018. After the Capitol sit-in by Bush, who has experienced homelessness after eviction, millions of Americans will see at least a temporary reprieve from the same threat.

“I can’t tell you just how important it is, and how much of a change can be brought, by having people who have personal experiences [with] the policy that they are trying to implement,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) a founding member of the group.

Their fight almost certainly isn’t over: Biden’s evictions fix is expected to draw a court challenge that could put the onus back on Congress to cobble together a response. Still, Bush’s allies say the intense pressure from her and other Democrats this week compelled the White House into a step it had been highly reluctant to take just hours earlier.

But beyond the power of grassroots activism, the Missouri Democrat’s move also shows that she’s building bonds with influential Democrats after coming to Congress as an outsider who knocked off a beloved member of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus.

“I don’t care about the spotlight. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t make me feel good,” she told POLITICO in a brief interview after holding court on the building’s steps since Friday. “I just want to see this happen for my people.”

While Bush was quick to join the Squad after arriving in January, her ties to the CBC had been more fragile after her defeat of former Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), whose father had co-founded the group 50 years ago. But Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chair of the Black Caucus, said she had flown back from Ohio and joined the vigil after Bush called to invite her.

“She called me to tell me what she was doing, and she said it would mean a lot to her to have me here. She’s one of my members, so I’m here,” Beatty said in an interview after taking part in Bush’s vigil.