President Biden and the White House as of Monday morning didn’t respond to a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team calling on the executive branch to extend the federal eviction moratorium, as “Squad” Democrats continued to camp on the Capitol steps in protest of the inaction from their party.
“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,” Pelosi, D-Calif., and her leadership team said in a Sunday morning statement hours after the moratorium ended. “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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) early in the coronavirus pandemic implemented an eviction moratorium that banned landlords from removing people who were behind on their rent. It was extended multiple times but finally ended Saturday night following a June opinion from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh saying Congress – not the president — would have to extend the moratorium if it were to continue.
Consistent with that, the White House asked Congress to pass legislation continuing the ban on landlords evicting tenants who fail to pay their rent.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
But the votes were not there in either the House or the Senate, so the eviction ban expired. The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News about Pelosi’s statement, which essentially asked Biden to do something the Supreme Court already said is unlawful.
Progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, are livid at their party leadership for allegedly not taking the eviction moratorium seriously. Sunday night marked their third night protesting lack of action by Biden and Democrats in Congress by camping out on the steps of the Capitol.
“5 AM. This morning felt cold, like the wind was blowing straight through my sleeping bag,” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., tweeted Monday morning. “Since Friday—when some colleagues chose early vacation over voting to prevent evictions—we’ve been at the Capitol. It’s an eviction emergency. Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now.”
Bush said in a Sunday night tweet that she’d heard there were “thousands” of evictions on the first day after the moratorium lifted, with “potentially millions to come.”
“People are being forcibly removed from their homes RIGHT NOW,” she said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says Democratic leadership could have extended the moratorium if it had the will to.
“Everybody knew this was coming,” she said Friday at the protest. “We were sounding the alarm about this issue. The court order was not yesterday, the court order was not Monday, the court order was about a month ago.”
“The White House says it doesn’t have authority to extend the eviction moratorium or cancel student debt,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., tweeted Sunday night. “But it hasn’t had a problem conducting airstrikes without authorization from Congress.”
It’s unclear what steps either Congress or the White House could take next on the now-lapsed moratorium. The House of Representatives is scheduled to be out of session for nearly the entire month of August.
The White House, meanwhile, is trying to get lower levels of government to help renters with money that’s already been allocated by Congress.
“The American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $21.5 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) that can be used by renters to cover arrears and make landlords whole. This is on top of $25 billion allocated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act,” a White House press release said last month. “But state and local governments must do better. Money is available in every state to help renters who are behind on rent and at risk of eviction.”
Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.