The Jolt: Georgia Democrats push to extend ban on evictions

With an estimated 3.6 million Americans at risk of eviction, some Democrats are pressuring President Joe Biden to extend a moratorium that expired at midnight on Saturday.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the ban in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But many lawmakers were caught off guard last week when Biden said he wouldn’t unilaterally extend the moratorium again, leaving it to Congress to do so.

Part of the reason lawmakers were hesitant to extend the moratorium further is because billions of dollars in rental assistance that could help keep people in their homes has not been spent.

The AJC’s Isaiah Poritz and Tyler Estep wrote about the slow rollout of federal aid in Georgia:

As of July 20, only about 6% of the $710 million that Georgia and select local governments received in federal aid had gone to households at risk of eviction or behind on rent, the AJC’s analysis found.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau estimates between 159,365 and 344,035 Georgians are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to be evicted due to lack of payment, based on survey results from June 23 to July 5. Some of those at risk are immigrants and single-parent families, local advocates say.

The gridlock upset Democratic U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams of Atlanta, who demanded that state and local governments step up their plans to distribute the funds while criticizing the congressional inaction.

“I’m furious that millions are at risk of being evicted because a few members of Congress refused to do the right thing and #ExtendtheMoratorium,” she wrote on Twitter.

Stacey Abrams, the voting rights activist and potential gubernatorial candidate, also added her voice to the calls for more relief to families at risk of eviction.

“Renters face eviction as the Delta variant renews the urgency of COVID protections. Congress, state govts and local leaders all have a role to play in protecting families - particularly children under 12 ineligible for vaccination but not homelessness.”

With no national policies in place, it’s up to state and local governments to act. DeKalb County was the first out of the gate in Georgia.

Asha Jackson, the chief judge of DeKalb County’s superior court, signed a new emergency order that extends the ban another 60 days. The move freezes nearly 2,000 evictions that were either scheduled or in the pipeline.

It’s not yet clear if any other major county judicial systems will follow suit.


The foreclosure moratorium is far from the only major debate we’re watching in Congress this week.

It promises to be a crucial span for the future of the bipartisan infrastructure measure that includes $550 billion in new funding for roads, bridges, water infrastructure and other public works.

Senate negotiators late Sunday released the language of the measure, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would pass the chamber in a “matter of days.” But not before a lengthy amendment process.

And Business Insider’s Grace Panetta reminds us that the latest attempt at a federal voting rights measure could also be hammered out this week.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is at the center of the negotiations over the bill, which could preempt parts of the state’s new elections law.


David Emadi

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Jake Evans announced in late June that he was stepping down as chairman of the state ethics commission to run for Congress in the 6h District, a seat currently held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath.

When Evans recently sent out an invitation for a Aug. 5th fundraiser, the first person named as a host caught our eye: It was David Emadi, the executive secretary of the ethics commission.

The ethics commission is a non-partisan, state-funded agency that collects campaign and lobbyists expenditure reports, registers lobbyists and campaign committees, and investigates complaints filed against candidates and committees when they are accused of breaking the law.

That doesn’t mean the commission is devoid of politics. Evans has long been active in the Republican Party. Another member of the panel donated to Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign in 2018. Emadi, the top full-time staffer on the commission, gave to the campaign of Gov. Brian Kemp, who beat Abrams.

Emadi told our AJC colleague James Salzer that he and Evans are longtime friends.

“I haven’t given any money to the (Evans) campaign and my office has no role in regulating federal elections,” Emadi said. “My support has nothing to do with him being Republican or Democrat. He’s just a friend and colleague I’ve known for a long time and respect.”

But it may be a sore point with Democrats, some of whom have been wary of Emadi since he announced the commission is investigating the finances of groups that backed Abrams’ campaign shortly after he was hired in 2019.


Republican Patrick Witt joined the ever-growing crowd running for Congress in the 10th District, a deep-red stretch of northeast Georgia.

He identifies himself as a former Donald Trump administration official, after working in the federal Office of Personnel Management, but you may have heard of him for another reason.

Witt got national praise in 2011 while he was Yale University’s star quarterback for announcing he had withdrawn a Rhodes scholarship application so he could play in the annual grudge match against Harvard.

But the New York Times later reported that Witt was no longer a contender for the prestigious scholarship because the organizers learned he had been accused of sexual assault by a fellow student.

Witt’s lawyer later said the woman who initially approached Yale officials with the sexual misconduct allegations decided not to pursue it through formal university channels or police. And Witt later criticized the school’s policy of allowing secretive “informal complaints,” saying it “nearly ruined my life.”


Deborah Lipstadt walks a red carpet for "Denial" during the 11th Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on October 17, 2016 in Rome. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images/TNS)

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Credit: TNS

Famed Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University professor, was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as special envoy in the U.S. State Department with a mission to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

Lipstadt specializes in modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory and is the founding director of its Institute for Jewish Studies. Her new role comes with a rank equal to that of an ambassador, meaning she will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Prof. Lipstadt is a brilliant & clear-eyed scholar,” Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock wrote on Twitter Sunday. “I look forward to getting her swiftly confirmed so we can work together in the fight against antisemitism.”


Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police during a "Brothers Day of Action on Capitol Hill" protest event outside Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Advocacy organization Black Voters Matter held the event in support of voting rights and the passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by Congress. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)

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Credit: TNS

The U.S. House Ethics Committee reviewed the details of Rep. Hank Johnson’s arrest during a voting rights protest last month and determined no further action is needed. The committee must investigate when a member is charged with a crime.

The Lithonia Democrat was arrested on July 28 outside the Hart Office Building on Capitol Hill along with several other activists during a nonviolent protest organized by Black Voters Matter. He paid a $50 fine as a condition of his release.

Johnson was the second of three House Democrats arrested while demonstrating in favor of federal election legislation. They want to pass federal standards that blunt the impact of new laws in states like Georgia that were recently passed and that introduce new voting restrictions.

Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty was the first to be arrested and, most recently, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was taken into custody after a similar nonviolent protest.


Remember when Kelly Loeffler faced criticism for not ponying up enough cash to Donald Trump? That seems a distant memory.

When she was a U.S. senator last year, her husband Jeff Sprecher stroked a $1 million check to a pro-Trump PAC. And records released over the weekend show she gave $250,000 to a new group endorsed by Trump: The Make America Great Again Action organization.


05/05/2021 — Peachtree Corners, Georgia — US Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux makes remarks during a press conference about infrastructure at Jones Bridge Park in Peachtree Corners, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer /

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Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux dissented during a procedural vote on the federal budget last week, saying she wanted to send a message to colleagues about how they were going about crafting a spending plan.

The action was symbolic by design. The Gwinnett Democrat still voted with her party to approve several budget bills last week. But she said her decision to speak out through a protest vote is less about what the money is being spent on and more about the procedure to get there.

Bordeaux knows her way around a balance sheet. She’s the former director of Georgia’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office.

But she’s also sending a message to constituents in her swing metro Atlanta district that she is concerned about the long-term fiscal impacts of trillions of dollars in recent spending.

Congress is approving spending bills without first passing legislation that establishes targets for revenues and upper limits for spending, Bordeaux said. She and other fiscally conservative Democrats in the Blue Dogs Caucus have written letters to House leaders requesting a return to “regular order” by no longer skipping steps in the budgeting process.

“Every community meeting I have, people ask me about fiscal responsibility,” Bourdeaux told one of your Insiders recently.

She said voters want to see infrastructure, workforce development, education and health care spending, “but they also want to make sure we are prudent and that we pay for it.”


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