The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep its eviction moratorium in place until July 31, saying that Congress would have to authorize any further extension.
Landlords argued that an extension was unnecessary as individuals are receiving vaccines, and that the public health threat from COVID-19 had subsided. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, said the CDC had “exceeded its existing statutory authority.”
The program, since September 2020, has prevented tenants who have been unable to make rental payments from being evicted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the recent spread of the delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available,” Psaki continued, noting that last month, when the CDC last extended the eviction moratorium, the Supreme Court stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the president calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay,” Psaki added.
The president has also asked the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs to extend their eviction moratoria through the end of September, which Psaki said would provide “continued protection for households living in federally-insured, single-family properties.”
Psaki said Biden has asked these agencies and others to “do everything in their power so that owners and operators of federally-assisted and financial rental housing seek Emergency Rental Assistance to make themselves whole while keeping families in secure and safe housing – before moving toward eviction.”
The White House is also urging states and localities to “urgently accelerate their efforts” to disburse funds through the American Rescue Plan.
“With some cities and states demonstrating their ability to release these funds efficiently to tenants and landlords in need, there can be no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress appropriated to meet this critical need of so many Americans,” Psaki said.
As of last month, approximately 7 million households were not caught up on rent payments, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which raised concerns about a surge in evictions that may occur when the policy is lifted.
But as the delta variant of COVID-19 becomes more prominent in the U.S., the administration is looking to extend certain pandemic-related programs, while pushing to vaccinate as many Americans as possible.
This week, the CDC reversed its earlier guidance for vaccinated individuals, saying they are now required to wear masks or face coverings in certain situations amid the delta variant threat. States and localities across the nation are, too, beginning to restart mask mandates.
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.