House Democratic leadership is calling on President Joe Biden to unilaterally extend a moratorium on evictions after failing to convince moderates to support an extension in the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC), and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) put out a joint statement Sunday evening claiming the Biden administration “must take action.” The moratorium, which has been in place since September, expired over the weekend after Pelosi failed to wrangle support for an extension in the House. The push to extend the moratorium sank after Democratic leaders failed to win the support of moderates within their caucus.
“On Thursday, the President asked Congress to pass an extension of the eviction moratorium. Sadly, it is clear that the Senate is not able to do so, and any legislation in the House, therefore, will not be sufficient to extend the moratorium,” the House Democratic leaders said in a statement.
“Action is needed, and it must come from the Administration. That is why House leadership is calling on the Administration to immediately extend the moratorium,” the statement continued. “As the CDC doubles down on mask-wearing and vaccination efforts, science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant. Doing so is a moral imperative to keep people from being put out on the street which also contributes to the public health emergency.”
The Democratic leaders pushed the extension alluding to the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus that is currently circulating in the United States. The COVID-19 vaccine, however, appears to be highly effective against the Delta variant as with the original virus, and cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 among vaccinated Americans remains low.
“The virus is still a threat,” the Democrats wrote. “The moratorium must be extended, and the funds Congress allocated to assist renters and landlords must be spent. An extension of the moratorium is based on public health and the delta variant. It will also give more time to allow the money that Congress allocated to finally flow.”
“We call upon the Treasury Department to indicate how the funds that it has already transferred to states and communities can be more effectively distributed to renters and landlords.”
Landlords have argued against extending the eviction ban, which prevents landlords from kicking out tenants who have not paid rent. The eviction ban is costing such businesses billions of dollars every month, landlords say, according to Politico.
Last week, Biden called on Congress to extend the eviction ban that was originally put in place by order of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biden argued that Congress must extend the eviction moratorium because the Supreme Court signaled in June that it would strike down another extension done through executive authority without legislation from Congress.
“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. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement last week. “In June, when CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st, the Supreme Court’s ruling stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”