Biden sought new eviction moratorium but lacked legal authority: White House

Biden sought new eviction moratorium but lacked legal authority: White House

The Biden White House said Monday that it lacked the legal authority to extend the federal moratorium on evictions that expired over the weekend, putting pressure on states that have been “too slow” to disburse the billions of dollars in assistance to the millions of renters who face being thrown out of their homes.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would have “strongly supported” a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further extend its eviction moratorium, but noted that the Supreme Court declared in June that the CDC could not grant such an extension without congressional approval. The White House said Biden’s idea for a new, 30-day eviction moratorium focusing on counties with high infection rates was also shot down by the CDC.

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“To date, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team have been unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium,” White House press secretary Psaki said in a statement Monday. “Our team is redoubling efforts to identify all available legal authorities to provide necessary protections. In the meantime, the President will continue to do everything in his power to help renters from eviction.”

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Psaki said the administration was calling on individual states to extend or put in place evictions moratoria for at the least the next two months and “challenging every landlord to hold off on evictions for the next 30 days.”

During a White House press briefing Monday afternoon, Gene Sperling, who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, said more than a half-dozen times that Biden is “double, triple and quadruple” checking the administration’s authority to extend the moratorium.

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