Biden Calls on Congress to Extend Nationwide Eviction Ban Before It Expires

Biden Calls on Congress to Extend Nationwide Eviction Ban Before It Expires
A banner against renter eviction reading "no job, no rent" is displayed on a controlled rent building in Washington on Aug. 9, 2020. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
Bill Pan

The White House on Thursday called on Congress to extend a moratorium on eviction that is set to expire this week.

The nationwide eviction ban was first enacted in September 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the federal government’s effort to prevent the further spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. The idea was that evicted individuals often share living spaces with relatives or friends or move into crowded homeless shelters, undermining social distancing restrictions.

“Given the recent spread of the delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available,” she added.

The CDC said last month it would not extend the eviction moratorium, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a narrow 5-4 decision to leave the policy in place until the end of July. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who cast the deciding vote, wrote in his concurring opinion that the CDC lacked authority to extend the ban again, unless by an act of Congress.

“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” Kavanaugh’s opinion read.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will join the effort to push the emergency extension through Congress. A spokesperson said Pelosi “agrees with President Biden that the moratorium must be extended” and is “exploring all options to do so.”

The attempt to extend the eviction ban is likely to meet with opposition from the Senate Republicans. At least 10 Republican votes are needed to break a filibuster and advance any legislation, assuming all Senate Democrats vote for it.

“This is a full-scale failure by the Biden Administration that Republicans have been trying to address for months,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement on Thursday. “Now, we are three days away from the end of the CDC’s unconstitutional eviction moratorium, and what is President Biden’s solution? Blame the Court and call on Congress to fix it. This is absurd.”

Regardless of whether or not the federal ban gets to be extended, some state and local governments may still have their own temporary eviction moratoria in place. California’s Los Angeles County, for example, has banned evictions through the end of September.

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