Democrats take vacation as millions of Americans face deportation
NOTnothing unites Congress like the arrival of August, when Democrats and Republicans collectively curse Washington’s sweltering summer heat and scour the city for a month-long vacation. This year, lawmakers will frolic on the beach as millions of Americans face impending deportation after the federal government’s national moratorium on deportations expired last weekend.
Not all Democrats are so optimistic about the possibility of making as many as 3.6 million homeless in the next two months. Missouri Representative Cori Bush slept on the steps of the Capitol Sunday evening in solidarity with the tenants facing the safe, but the biggest names of the party remained almost completely silent in the face of an impending disaster.
Joe Biden’s promised “return to normalcy” increasingly looks like the White House standing on the sidelines as Democrats in Congress retreat from difficult and necessary political fights. In the rent relief case, the president did nothing to help push the legislation forward after the Supreme Court in June rejected an attempt to end the eviction freeze in a ruling in which Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who cast the deciding vote, made it clear that Congress must act to extend the program.
Unfortunately for the country, there is no hope of rent relief – or more ambitious goals like protecting voting rights – until Biden enlists the Democratic Party heavyweights in the fight.
Creating effective crisis messages is one area where Republicans have overtaken Democrats, in large part thanks to Donald Trump’s television-designed, high-stakes government approach. Biden was understandably skeptical of going any route once taken by the Trumpist boots, and in many cases his caution is deserved. When presidents and political parties use the language of crisis for cynical political ends, like the false hysteria of the GOP’s “migrant caravan”, it erodes public confidence in institutions and deepens political polarization. Responsible leaders will avoid these results at all costs.
But the loss of our national moratorium on evictions is not a fabricated crisis – it is real, and it puts the financial and real estate security of millions of Americans at risk across all political perspectives. That’s because even though the rental evictions have expired, most of the money Congress has designated to support rental assistance programs has yet to be spent. In fact, renters received only about 12% of the $ 25 billion in rent relief authorized by Congress in March. Today, Congress declares “Mission accomplished” with nearly nine out of ten dollars in rent assistance unspent because states, including New York, did not provide that money.
“We have known for a month that the moratorium on evictions would end on Sunday,” New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said. tweeted. “The convention was adjourned for 7 weeks with NOTHING doing about it… how can we get home when so many people are on the verge of losing theirs? “
If only other Democrats were concerned too. Barack Obama, widely regarded as one of the party’s best communicators and for 12 years the most respected figure in American life, has not said a word about the financial cliff facing tenants. Understandably – Obama’s courier operation has been busy promoting the former president’s 60th birthday in a sprawling mansion on Martha’s Vineyard. With nearly 500 guests, more senior Democrats will attend Obama’s posh party than on television to condemn Republicans for blocking rent relief.
With 14% of US tenants behind on their payments, at least some of the “200+ employees” working on Obama’s spectacular birthday party will return from the party just in time to pack their apartments.
Ditto for Hillary Clinton, who in her 2016 concession speech urged Americans that “our constitutional democracy requires our participation.” This fire for participatory action has apparently been extinguished: Clinton did not once mention the rent crisis on social media or at public events in 2021.
But Obama and Clinton are private citizens, you might be tempted to tweet furiously. If Democrats are to effectively transform their political vision into real law, they will have to move beyond the idea that our most effective messengers are exempt from the effort to undo the damage caused by Trumpism. The elite Democrats who correctly defined our national situation as a crisis during the 2020 campaign are now giving activists and voters a boost with sudden calls for slow and gradual policy changes.
As for Biden, he at least asked Congress to extend the moratorium on evictions for 30 days. But when lawmakers balked at being detained in town during their summer recess, the President let them go without even a press conference slamming such a callous act of selfishness. So much for “the money stops here”.
“Extending the moratorium on evictions is a moral imperative, simple and necessary,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow lawmakers last week. But you won’t see a big speech from Biden’s Oval Office about the importance of keeping our fellow Americans off the streets. You won’t hear Obama’s dazzling rhetoric about going through tough times together. Despite Bidenland’s frequent praise for Progressive Reform President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Biden is clearly uncomfortable embracing the big party-wide bombastic public persuasion campaigns that have made FDR’s tenure such a force. unstoppable.
Instead of mounting a nationwide campaign to galvanize public opinion and put pressure on stubborn Republicans, Democrats have once again signaled that they are unwilling to push for policies essential to their core constituencies. black and brown. Worse yet, establishment Democrats are wasting vital resources attacking progressive primary challengers like Ohio’s Nina Turner ahead of the 2022 midterm election. Turner, to her credit, has consistently criticized Democratic inaction in in terms of rent relief.
The infighting and inaction of Democrats leaves the media landscape open for the GOP to portray genuine concerns about rent relief as mere political posture. If it was a real crisis, the republican line goes, Biden would treat him as such.
Ocasio-Cortez, Bush and other members of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party rightly see rent relief as a winning issue for Democrats, one Biden inexplicably left to rot while keeping the party’s top communicators on. the bench. With a slow media month ahead, Biden and the Congressional Democrats have a golden opportunity to control the media cycle with great public pressure to protect U.S. tenants. All they need is political courage to deliver the first punch.