President Joe Biden issued a last-minute call to Congress to extend the nationwide eviction ban beyond its July 31 expiration, and Democratic lawmakers said they are exploring ways to make it happen.
When the Centers for Disease Control last extended the moratorium from its previous expiration date at the end of June, the White House said that was the “final” time. Biden said Thursday, however, with just two days to go until the moratorium ends, that he would support another extension because the surge in COVID-19 cases could affect tenants who would likely face eviction if the ban were lifted. But extending the ban is up to Congress, because the Supreme Court ruled in June that only lawmakers, not the Biden administration, could do so, Biden said in a statement. Democratic legislative leaders said they were on board with Biden’s request.
“The Speaker agrees with President Biden that the moratorium must be extended, and we are exploring all options to do so,” a spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi said in an email. Similarly, a spokesperson for Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats support extending the moratorium and urged Republicans not to block it.
The eviction moratorium, first put in place in September, hasn’t brought evictions to a halt but has slowed them significantly, according to research by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. The moratorium is not the only federal anti-eviction measure currently available to struggling renters—Biden is urging state and local agencies to redouble their efforts to distribute $47 billion in rental aid from the Emergency Rental Assistance program, which pays rent for tenants who have suffered financial setbacks. The aid program, however, has been slow to deliver help because of bureaucratic delays.
While the national moratorium is expiring, local anti-eviction measures are still in effect in some states and localities.
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