Democrats Scramble to Act on Eviction Moratorium Extension
House Democrats rushed to garner the votes needed to extend the federal moratorium on evictions until the end of the year – a long-drawn-out attempt to prevent the freeze from expiring on Saturday – on Friday on Friday. leaders have expressed frustration with President Biden for bringing the issue to them. .
“We would like the CDC to extend the moratorium, that’s where it can be done,” President Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that imposed the moratorium last fall.
“The point is, almost $ 50 billion has been allocated – $ 46 billion. Less than 10% of that amount has been spent, around $ 3 billion, ”she said. “Why should tenants be punished for the system not putting money in their pockets to pay rent to landlords? “
Earlier today, Ms Pelosi and her allies, led by Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, found themselves at least a dozen votes before passing a bill extending the freeze – which significantly slowed down the pace of expulsions. during the pandemic – according to two assistants involved in the vote whipping.
The hang-up, aides said, were objections from moderate Democrats over the length of the extension. Homeowner groups have stepped up pressure on lawmakers in recent days, arguing that an extension would unfairly hurt small landlords pushed to the brink of insolvency by unpaid rents.
Even if the House measure passes, it will almost certainly die in the Senate – where Democrats were likely to seek a month-long extension through a voice vote. A single Republican objection would instantly sink it, and the vast majority of Republicans in both chambers oppose such an extension.
The Biden administration on Friday announced two-month extensions of more limited eviction moratoria from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the ministries of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, but l the effect of these should be modest.
President Biden threw the case in Congress on Thursday, urging Democrats to quickly enact a second month-long extension of the moratorium on residential evictions in particular, citing the need to buy time to put in place a program of $ 47 billion in rent relief plagued by delays and tape.
The decision to hand the blame to Congress – just two days before the freeze expired – took Democratic leaders by surprise.
White House officials, under pressure from tenant rights groups, last month agreed to a one-month extension to the ban just ahead of its previous expiration date of June 30.
Shortly after, the Supreme Court dismissed a homeowners challenge, saying it would allow the moratorium to continue until July 31, as planned, to give the Treasury Department and states time to pay out money. money to landlords to cover accumulated rent that tenants have not paid. during the pandemic.
But Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion that any future extension of the moratorium would require congressional action.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday, citing the sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the country, urged Congress to extend the freeze for another month to avoid a health and deportation crisis .
“Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, including among Americans most likely to face deportations and not be vaccinated, President Biden reportedly strongly supported a CDC decision to further extend this moratorium on evictions, “she wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court made it clear that this option is no longer available.”
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