The House of Representatives and the White House are at odds over who should extend the federal eviction moratorium after it expired over the weekend, Insider reports.
The White House said last week, days before the ban was set to expire, that it would not extend it. The administration cited a recent Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh warning that the court may block any extension unless it is authorized by Congress.
The Biden administration called on Congress to act before the ban expired but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to rally enough members of her own party to support the extension, allowing the vote to fail on Friday. Even if the bill was approved, it is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats would have to convince at least 10 Republicans to join them to defeat a filibuster.
Reps. Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar slept over the weekend on the Capitol steps to protest the House going on a seven-week recess instead of staying to work on the bill.
Pelosi points finger at Biden:
Pelosi in a statement on Monday called on Biden to extend the moratorium.
“We all agree that the eviction crisis is an enormous challenge to the conscience of our country,” she said. “ It is unfathomable that we would not act to prevent people from being evicted. Overwhelmingly, our Members agreed to extend the moratorium and universally, to distribute the funds. But the House passing the eviction moratorium without the Senate acting does not extend the moratorium. Instead… the moratorium must be extended by the Administration.”
But progressives said the onus was on House Democrats to act.
"We were elected to do the hard things," Bush said. "How are we going to say to the American people.. we're allowing 7 million people to not have homes while Democrats are in the majority?"
"We have to really just call a spade a spade," New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN. "We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have the majority.”
Rental assistance money stalls:
The end of the moratorium puts millions of Americans at risk for eviction, but it is unclear why states have failed to distribute tens of billions in rental assistance that could avert disaster for countless families.
Congress has approved $45 billion in rental assistance programs but only $3 billion of the funds have been distributed, including just $1.5 billion last month, despite the first round of funding being approved in December.
The number of households who received assistance rose from 160,000 in May to over 300,000 in June but still far short of helping about 1.2 million households that could face eviction this month.
The Treasury Department put the onus on state and local governments, calling for them to “do more to accelerate aid to struggling renters.”