The White House doubles down and says it can't extend the eviction ban without Congress

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The White House doubles down and says it can't extend the eviction ban without Congress
President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
  • The Biden administration doubled down and said it couldn't renew the eviction ban without Congress.
  • It said the CDC lacked the authority to unilaterally act, citing a Supreme Court ruling.
  • Biden and Democrats in Congress have tried trading responsibility over who should renew it.

The White House on Monday said it couldn't renew a now lapsed eviction ban without Congress, urging state and local governments to prevent evictions on their own.

It said in a statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been "unable" to find a way to legally extend the federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium.

"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 Jen Psaki said in a statement. "Our team is redoubling efforts to identify all available legal authorities to provide necessary protections."

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She said the White House was urging states and local courts to halt eviction proceedings and scrambling to get emergency rental relief from a stimulus program out the door more quickly.

The federal moratorium on evictions expired on July 31 after a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling said an extension would have to go through Congress. The Biden administration urged Congress to renew the ban at the last minute on Thursday, but lawmakers failed to do so.

The inability of the Biden administration and Congress to act puts at least 6 million renters at risk of eviction. While the White House wants states to impose eviction bans for the next two months, only eight have them in place.

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"Whatever it is in the power of this president to do to prevent evictions, he is committed to doing," Gene Sperling, a White House advisor, said at a news conference.

Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have punted responsibility over who should renew the moratorium in recent days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the Biden administration on Monday to renew it, citing the rise in virus cases and hospitalizations.

She said in a statement that the administration's efforts to renew the moratorium was "welcome." But housing advocates are ratcheting up pressure on the Biden administration to do more.

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"Patchwork protections are far better than none, but they leave some renters still vulnerable to losing their homes in coming weeks & months," National Low Income Housing Coalition President Diane Yentel tweeted.

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