USA: New moratorium on evictions issued until 3 October

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a new moratorium on evictions that will run through October 3, as the administration of US President Joe Biden tries to quell criticism that it has been allowing vulnerable renters to lose their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

A new moratorium would keep millions of Americans at home as the delta type of coronavirus spreads across the country, and states have been slow to provide federal rental assistance. This measure will temporarily halt evictions in counties with “significant and high levels” of coronavirus cases and will cover areas where 90% of the US population lives.

The announcement was a setback for the Biden administration after it indicated that a Supreme Court ruling prevented the moratorium from being issued. But the decision to impose new measure despite legal uncertainty also represents a victory for progressive lawmakers who have pressured the White House to do more to prevent an estimated 3.6 million Americans from losing their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said he pressured the CDC to reconsider his options. However, he appeared to doubt whether the new moratorium could withstand demands regarding its constitutionality, and said he sought an expert opinion on whether the Supreme Court would endorse the measure.

“The majority of experts say he is unlikely to pass the constitutionality test,” Biden said. “But there are many key scientists who believe it can and is worth the effort.”

The president added that the moratorium – even if challenged in court – would “likely give some extra time” to states and cities to release billions of dollars in federal aid to renters.

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Politically, the extension could help fix the row created by Democratic lawmakers who are asking the president to take executive action to keep renters in their homes.

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Alexandra Jaffe, Associate Reporter, contributed to this report.

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