CDC announces surprise, 60-day extension to federal eviction moratorium

As a moratorium on evictions, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expired over the weekend, President Joe Biden insisted that it was beyond the White House’s authority to extend the program, instead leaving it up to Congress, which failed to muster enough members to vote on the extension.

Just days later, according to The Hill, the Biden administration announced that the CDC will, in fact, extend the program in a “targeted” manner, indicating that eviction bans will remain in place in areas deemed by the CDC as experiencing substantial COVID-19 transmission rates. 

The areas covered by the eviction ban align with the CDC’s updated mask guidance — even for vaccinated individuals — for areas of “high” or “substantial” transmission rates of COVID-19.

What’s going on?

The original moratorium on evictions, which was issued by the CDC last year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit peak levels, protects tenants from losing their homes during a public health emergency. As months passed and vaccines were made available to virtually every American, the fate of the program teetered.

The Biden administration cited a recent Supreme Court ruling as the reason why it was unable to extend the program into mid-October, which sparked waves of intra-party controversy. Biden left the decision to extend the program up to Congress.

Not surprisingly, just prior to the lower chamber’s summer recess, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was unable to gather enough members to vote on the extension, which triggered a backlash from the radically progressive element of her party, complete with an “eviction notice” protest at the speaker’s San Francisco, California home, as Fox News reported.

Under pressure, Pelosi turned the issue back on the White House, releasing a surprise statement on Sunday evening calling on the White House to follow through on its “moral imperative” to pass an extension to the program.

“Action is needed, and it must come from the Administration.  That is why House leadership is calling on the Administration to immediately extend the moratorium.  As the CDC doubles down on mask-wearing and vaccination efforts, science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant,” the speaker’s statement read.

Biden admin buckles

Apparently, Pelosi’s counter-pressure campaign worked flawlessly, as on Tuesday, it was announced that the CDC formally extended the eviction ban for another 60 days. The ban on evictions will cover roughly 90% of the United States.

During a televised press conference on Tuesday, the president seemingly refused to go into detail about the announcement but admitted that it’s likely to face legal challenges.

Landlords across the country are, according to the Associated Press, “filling courtrooms” in attempts to reclaim their properties. Collectively, landlords are owed tens of millions — if not more — in back rent, as renters have been able to forgo their monthly payment for the better part of a year.

Government relief programs for landlords who are owed money have reportedly barely been tapped, leaving property owners across the country questioning what states are doing with the nearly $50 billion set aside to cover the lost revenue landlords have experienced for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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