by Thomas Catenacci
House Democratic leaders issued a joint statement calling on the White House to disregard a recent Supreme Court ruling and extend the national eviction moratorium.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other top House Democratic leaders urged President Joe Biden’s administration to extend the eviction moratorium until Oct. 18, 2021 and said doing so is a “moral imperative,” according to the joint statement released Sunday. The moratorium — first introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year to prevent landlords from evicting low-income tenants during the pandemic — expired over the weekend after Congress failed to pass legislation extending it.
“Action is needed, and it must come from the Administration,” the House Democrats said. “That is why House leadership is calling on the Administration to immediately extend the moratorium.”
“As the CDC doubles down on mask-wearing and vaccination efforts, science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant,” the statement continued.
While the current and previous administration extended the moratorium multiple times, the Supreme Court ruled in June that further extensions would need to be congressionally approved. Last week, Biden asked Congress to promptly pass legislation extending the moratorium noting the court’s decision, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
But Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Whip James Clyburn and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark said an extension wouldn’t receive enough votes in the Senate in their statement. They didn’t address the high court’s ruling prohibiting the administration from taking action.
“The virus is still a threat. The moratorium must be extended, and the funds Congress allocated to assist renters and landlords must be spent,” the Democrats continued. “An extension of the moratorium is based on public health and the delta variant. It will also give more time to allow the money that Congress allocated to finally flow.”
“We call upon the Treasury Department to indicate how the funds that it has already transferred to states and communities can be more effectively distributed to renters and landlords,” they said.
In its December and March stimulus packages, Congress appropriated a total of nearly $47 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, which was put in place to help low-income Americans pay rent amid the pandemic-induced recession. The Treasury Department, though, recently said it had failed to distribute the vast majority of the funds Congress gave the program.
“This is a full-scale failure by the Biden Administration,” House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.
The White House and Pelosi’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.