September 25, 2021

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Biden rips states for sitting on billions in rental aid as he lets eviction ban end – Business Insider

3 min read
  • President Biden ripped state leaders for sitting on rental aid for landlords and tenants impacted by the pandemic.
  • Earlier this week, he called on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium — several days before the federal ban was set to expire.
  • Rep. Hoyer asked for unanimous consent to extend the ban, which failed, and the House adjourned.

President Joe Biden slammed state leaders Friday for sitting on billions in rental aid as the eviction moratorium is set to expire on Saturday.

Biden called on state and local governments to disperse the Emergency Rental Assistance funding they received in February.

“Five months later, with localities across the nation showing that they can deliver funds effectively – there can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement.

“Every state and local government must get these funds out to ensure we prevent every eviction we can,” Biden continued.

Lawmakers have been shifting the responsibility of letting the moratorium lapse.

Earlier this week, the president called on Congress to extend the eviction ban just days before the moratorium was set to expire, saying his administration would have “strongly supported” the decision to renew the ban but claimed to be unable to do so citing a ruling from the Supreme Court.

“In June, when CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st, the Supreme Court’s ruling stated that ‘clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,'” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

According to Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim, when she asked “why the administration waited until this week to push this to Congress — the White House insisted it had been ‘having conversations with Congress for some time about this.'”

However, a House Democratic aide, granted anonymity to speak candidly, told Insider that the White House statement on Thursday “just didn’t leave enough time.”

“Their statement hit us totally out of the blue, nobody was expecting it,” the aide said.

On the House floor on Friday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, asked for unanimous consent on extending the eviction moratorium before the House adjourned ahead of the deadline at the end of July.

The vote failed upon one objection, and the House is scheduled to reconvene until late September, pending any “significant legislation” that could call them into session sooner.

After the bill failed, Pelosi, Hoyer and House Majority whip Rep. James Clyburn wrote a statement expressing their disappointment. Earlier in the week and as late as Thursday, members of the House reportedly believed that the White House would extend the moratorium on it’s own.

“It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue,” they wrote after the vote. “We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that her and Rep. Cori Bush, ” tried to object to the House adjourning session and force a roll call on whether we should leave.”

“They rushed to adjourn before we could get to the floor,” she wrote.

Around 6 million Americans are at risk of getting evicted in the coming months, or 16% of all renters, per Census Pulse Survey Data, after the moratorium expires on July 31.

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