President Joe Biden will let the nationwide eviction moratorium expire this weekend, arguing that only Congress can extend the ban, The Associated Press reports.
The eviction moratorium was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Donald Trump last year when Congress failed to extend it legislatively and later extended by Biden.
But a federal court earlier this year vacated the moratorium. The Supreme Court stopped short of upholding the ruling because the ban was set to expire soon anyway but appeared to back the decision. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who voted to allow the ban to continue until its end date, said he would block additional extensions unless there was “clear and specific congressional authorization.”
The ban has protected about 6.4 million American households who have fallen behind on their rent, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. About 3.6 million people said they face eviction in the next two months, according to a Census survey.
Biden punts to 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,” the White House said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available.”
Biden called on “Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.”
The call came just two days before the ban is set to expire and marked the first time that Biden has asked Congress to act on the issue.
Government failing on rental assistance:
Congress in March approved $47 billion in rental assistance to help tenants and landlords make up months of missed rent.
But only $3 billion had been distributed by states through June and some states have only approved a few million dollars or, in New York’s case, nothing.
“The confluence of the surging delta variant with 6.5 million families behind on rent and at risk of eviction when the moratorium expires demands immediate action,” Diane Yentel, executive director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told the AP.
“The public health necessity of extended protections for renters is obvious. If federal court cases made a broad extension impossible, the Biden administration should implement all possible alternatives, including a more limited moratorium on federally backed properties.”