The New York Democrat said she could not “in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have the majority.”
“I think there’s a couple of issues here,” she told CNN host Jake Tapper during the appearance on State of the Union. “First of all, you are absolutely correct in that the House and House leadership had the opportunity to vote to extend the moratorium.”
She criticized some moderate House Democrats, who she said chose to leave Washington D.C., rather than vote on the extension.
“There was frankly a handful of conservative Democrats in the House that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The congresswoman also believes the Biden administration shares in the blame. She told Tapper “there is something to be said” in that, after receiving an order from the Supreme Court that Congress would have to authorize any further extension on the moratorium in June, that the administration “waited until the day before the House adjourned to release a statement asking on Congress to extend the moratorium.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over housing, said the White House “was not being forthright” about their stance until “the day before the house was adjourned.”
“The House was put into a needlessly difficult situation,” she said.
She called on the House to reconvene and extend the moratorium.
“There’s about 11 million people that are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That’s one out of every six renters.”
She previously criticized some Democrats over the issue on Twitter. “For some on Capitol Hill, it’s not about what we can do for our country, but what the country can do for their vacation,” she wrote.
Newsweek reached out to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and the White House for further comment but did not hear back before publication time.
Her comments echo those of other progressive House Democrats, who have been pushing for action to extend the moratorium.
Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota slept outside the U.S. Capitol Friday night to protest the end of the moratorium. Bush had set up for a second night. She told reporters: “I don’t plan to leave before some type of change happens.”
Bush has also criticized fellow Democrats for letting it expire. She tweeted Saturday: “The eviction moratorium expires tonight at midnight. We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead. We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs.”
Representative Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who chairs the Financial Services Committee, also criticized leadership for trying to get Republicans to give unanimous consent to extend the moratorium. “Of course that failed,” she told CNN Sunday. “Now we’re left without a resolution to this tremendous problem.”
“No matter where the fault lies, this is an emergency,” Waters added. “All we can do now is get back as fast as we can and work as hard as we can to try to get my bill passed.”
On Friday, the White House released a statement calling on state and local governments to “take all possible steps to immediately disburse” Emergency Rental Assistance funding.
“There can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic,” the statement said. “Every state and local government must get these funds out to ensure we prevent every eviction we can.”