Pelosi Wants Extension of Eviction Moratorium Set to Expire Saturday

Reuters
2021-07-30 | Since 2 Month

With a U.S. government moratorium on residential evictions that has been in place for 11 months set to expire on Saturday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to win approval for an extension.

Pelosi told colleagues in a new letter Friday afternoon she was seeking approval to immediately pass a bill to extend the moratorium through Oct. 18, the date that a Health and Human Services COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is set to expire.

"Congress has the power to direct the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to extend the eviction moratorium to provide relief," Pelosi wrote.

Earlier, Pelosi had called on President Joe Biden's administration to extend the COVID-19 eviction moratorium that has prevented millions of U.S. households from being forced out of rental homes.

On Thursday, amid a rise in coronavirus infections due to the Delta variant, Biden asked Congress to extend the moratorium in line with a Supreme Court opinion last month that suggested a legislative approval was required. He also made clear his administration would not extend it again without congressional approval.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday reiterated the administration's belief the CDC cannot extend the moratorium on its own based on the Supreme Court's ruling. She said the administration is working with leaders in Congress "to extend the eviction moratorium."

The CDC said last month it would not extend the eviction moratorium past July 31. The CDC did not comment on Friday.

It was still unclear if House Democrats will have the votes to approve the Oct. 18 extension or if the Senate would take it up.

Pelosi noted that out of $46.5 billion in rental relief approved by Congress, "only $3 billion has been distributed to renters... Congress must act again."

More than 15 million people live in households that are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

Those 6.5 million households collectively owe more than $20 billion to their landlords.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to leave in place the CDC's ban on residential evictions imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness during the pandemic.

"In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31," wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was one of five justices who voted to leave the moratorium in place.

The White House did not comment on Friday.

Some states have chosen to extend eviction moratoriums beyond July 31, like New York, whose moratorium extends through Aug. 31.

This week, the National Apartment Association, with 82,600 members that collectively manage more than 9.7 million units, sued the U.S. government seeking billions in unpaid rent.



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