The administration argues that his hands are tied by the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration asked Congress on Thursday to extend the federal freeze on evictions that expire on Saturday, arguing that his hands are tied by the Supreme Court.
The new statement comes as the country faces a surge in COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
The moratorium, essentially a national ban on evictions, was implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last September. In June, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the ban on evictions to continue until the end of July, but noted in its ruling that it would block any further extension unless there was “clear and specific authorization from Congress.”
“Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, even among Americans who are most likely to face evictions and lack vaccines, President Biden would have strongly supported a CDC decision to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect tenants. at this time of greatest vulnerability. “White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made it clear that this option is no longer available. In June, when the CDC extended the moratorium on eviction until July 31, the Supreme Court ruling declared that ‘clear authorization and Congress (through new legislation) for the CDC to extend the moratorium on July 31, ‘”he added, citing the concurring opinion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
By 5 votes to 4, the court rejected a request from two rapporteur associations in Alabama and Georgia and a group of property management companies seeking an emergency injunction against the CDC, which imposed the moratorium.
The Biden administration had previously said that it would not extend the moratorium beyond July, so the Court allowed the moratorium to remain in place, although Judge Kavanaugh made clear that he and the other conservative justices believe the CDC exceeded their authority.
“In light of the Supreme Court ruling,” continued Psaki, “the president calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect vulnerable tenants and their families without delay.”
Meanwhile, Biden has asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Veterans Affairs to extend their respective eviction bans until the end of September, which, according to Psaki, “will provide continued protection to households living in “Insured Single Family Properties”.
“The President has also asked these and other departments to do everything in their power to help owners and operators of federally assisted and funded rental homes seek Emergency Rental Assistance to recover while keeping families in housing. safe and secure, before moving towards eviction, “he added.
Psaki described the federal eviction moratorium as “critical support to prevent distressed tenants and their families who lost their jobs or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic from being evicted for not paying rent.”
“This moratorium prevented hundreds of thousands of Americans from experiencing the distress, homelessness and health risks that all too often emanate from evictions, particularly during a pandemic,” she said.
The Biden administration has faced mounting pressure from some Democratic lawmakers to address the looming deadline amid growing concerns that vaccinated people could pass the delta variant on to others, evidence of which has led to the CDC to advise vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas with high or substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission.
“I urge the Biden Administration to extend the CDC’s eviction moratorium. It is unwise not to extend the term when rental assistance funds have not come out quickly enough to protect people. Eviction requests are already in place. they have fired in anticipation of the lifting of the moratorium, “said the Representative. . Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, DN.Y., tweeted on July 23.
When asked during Tuesday’s press conference if the Biden administration was discussing an extension of the national eviction ban, Psaki had little to add.
“I have nothing to do with you right now,” she said. “But certainly, we will be watching this closely,” she added, citing “ongoing discussions about how we can continue to help tenants.”