House Democrats are scrambling to vote on a bill that would extend the federal eviction moratorium just two days before it expires but the ban is likely to end without Senate action, Politico reports.
The Trump administration used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health powers to extend the federal moratorium last year after Congress failed to act and the Biden administration extended it again earlier this year. But the Supreme Court, while upholding the moratorium, threatened to block any extension unless it was approved by Congress.
The Biden administration announced this spring that it would not extend the moratorium again but it came under pressure from Democrats after the spread of the delta variant prompted new Covid restrictions.
The White House on Thursday, despite being silent on the issue for months, called on Congress to extend the moratorium with just three days remaining.
“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,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “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.”
House scrambles ahead of vacation:
The call took Congress by surprise just days before the House was set to go on a long August vacation.
“I don’t see how we go home without” extending the moratorium, Pelosi told Democrats on a private call Friday.
Pelosi’s leadership team is struggling to convince moderate Democrats to support a vote on an extension, which may keep the moratorium in place through September. Other Democrats have balked at the vote because it’s unlikely to advance in the Senate.
Democrats are about 20 votes short with “patience running thin” and “frustrations escalating within the caucus about sticking around Washington with no timeline to vote,” according to the report.
Pelosi on Friday rejected the White House explanation and called on Biden to extend the CDC moratorium.
"We’re going to have to find a solution," Pelosi said. "I think that the CDC can."
Ban likely dead in Senate:
The last-minute push came after a furious demand by House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters to extend the moratorium.
Waters has demanded the moratorium last through the end of the year, while moderate Democrats are deadset on a September 30 deadline.
But it stands little chance of passing in the Senate, where all 50 Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to defeat a filibuster.
Republicans have criticized the moratorium and a coalition of landlords and industry groups this week called on lawmakers to “end the unsustainable nationwide federal restrictions on property operations” and instead focus on doling out rental assistance, which has stalled despite Congress approving over $40 billion to cover back rent.
“The moratorium unfairly shifts economic hardships to the backs of housing providers who have jeopardized their own financial futures to provide essential housing to renters across the country,” the groups, led by the National Association of Realtors, said in the letter.