The Biden administration said Thursday that it will allow an almost 11-month-old eviction moratorium to expire this weekend, blaming the Supreme Court for the lapse of the pandemic lifeline and calling on Congress to act swiftly.
The White House said a ruling in June from the nation’s top court had closed the door on the possibility of a unilateral moratorium extension from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision kept the measure in place through the end of July, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was in the majority, indicated that he would not support further extensions without congressional action.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “The Administration remains committed to doing everything in its power to keep people safely and securely housed.”
More than 7 million American households were behind on their rent at the start of the summer, according to a Census Bureau survey conducted between June 23 and July 5. And a surge in COVID cases this month amid a stalled vaccination effort has sent health officials scrambling to tighten health guidelines.
“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,” Psaki said in her statement, before saying the Supreme Court had tied the president’s hands.
It does not appear likely that Congress will manage to extend the moratorium before it lapses. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is aligned with the president on the need for action, said a spokesperson for the congresswoman.
“The Speaker agrees with President Biden that the moratorium must be extended, and we are exploring all options to do so,” Mia Ehrenberg, the spokesperson, said in a statement.
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