In a statement Thursday morning, the White House cited the spread of the Delta variant, particularly among Americans “both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations” as grounds for continuing the ban past the end of the month.
Covid cases have surged 146 percent nationwide over the past two weeks, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
On Saturday, the Times reported cases had increased fourfold in the past month, driven by severe outbreaks in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida. States with lower vaccination rates have seen the sharpest uptick in cases.
The administration also called on states and localities to step up efforts to disburse rental relief funds, given the “imminent ending of the CDC eviction moratorium.”
As of the beginning of June, Treasury Department data indicated that only $1.5 billion of the $46 billion in available rent relief had been dispersed to tenants or landlords, CNBC reported.
“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,” the White House said in its statement.
Democratic lawmakers, including House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, have pressured Biden to extend the ban in recent weeks because of the bottlenecks in rent relief distribution, Politico reported Tuesday.
But a June Supreme Court ruling, the White House noted in its statement Thursday, means any further extension of the CDC ban would require congressional action.
In order to pass, an extension would require the support of at least ten Republican senators in order to gain a filibuster-proof majority, The Hill reported Thursday. The GOP has opposed Biden’s previous extension of the CDC ban in favor of a longer-term plan to help tenants and landlords.
In May, a federal judge in the District of Columbia voided the moratorium on the basis that the CDC lacked the authority to institute the ban in the first place. The Justice Department appealed that ruling, and the Supreme Court sided with the DOJ at the end of June.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he based his decision on the fact, at the time, the moratorium was set to expire in a month, and the extra time would allow for more rental relief funds to go out.