Biden administration fires back at Pelosi eviction moratorium claims

In what has turned into a bitter blame game over federal protections for renters, the White House shot back at a claim levied last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in which she suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had the power to reimpose its prior pandemic-related eviction ban, contrary to administration claims, as the Daily Wire reports.

Last week, Democrats in Congress failed to marshal sufficient support to extend the CDC’s previous moratorium on evictions, put into place during the height of the coronavirus crisis, as The Hill noted, and that led to a barrage of criticism and finger-pointing between progressive legislators, House leadership, and the White House.

The Biden administration claimed that a recent Supreme Court decision tied its hands in terms of initiating an extension and urged Congress to take swift action to prolong the protections, but the speaker shot back that the eleventh-hour nature of the request made it virtually impossible for her to succeed before an adjournment for a planned summer recess.

“We only learned of this yesterday — not enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build the consensus, especially in a time of COVID,” she explained, according to Reuters.

Indeed, despite the efforts of Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), an extension of the ban on evictions was not accomplished, and their far-left colleagues joined in voicing their outrage, with some even camping out at the Capitol in solidarity with those they argued could soon be homeless due to legislative inaction.

In expressing her rage at the situation on Saturday, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) said on Saturday, “The eviction moratorium expires tonight at midnight. We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead.”

Apparently frustrated over having to absorb those types of critiques, Pelosi tweeted defiantly on Sunday, “The CDC has the power to extend the eviction moratorium. As they double down on masks, why wouldn’t they extend the moratorium in light of delta variant?” The speaker added, “It is a moral imperative to keep people from being put out in the street which also contributes to the public health emergency.”

On Monday, however, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took issue with Pelosi’s claims, saying that due to the Supreme Court ruling issued in June, the CDC simply has no legal authority to prolong the moratorium, and though the White House can utilize its influence to get something done, it is unable to take unilateral action on the issue, adding that an “emergency extension” on the ban is unlikely.

Given that the Supreme Court indeed declared this type of eviction ban to be a legislative issue rather than something under the executive’s purview, it seems that Pelosi is simply trying to shift blame for her own party’s failure to heed the moratorium’s known expiration date and to coalesce around their desired solution in a timely manner.