Aug 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden asks federal agencies to find ways to stop evictions

Photo of Joe Biden sitting at a table and speaking

Photog: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden has asked federal agencies to try and find ways to stop evictions after the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) said it lacked the authority to extend its national eviction moratorium, the White House said Monday.

Why it matters: Millions of tenants across the country face the threat of eviction after the moratorium expired this weekend.

State of play: The House last week failed to secure enough votes to extend the ban before adjourning for recess, leading to protests from progressive lawmakers.

  • Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who has been evicted three times, urged House Democrats on Friday to return from recess and vote on the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act. She and other lawmakers slept outside the Capitol on Friday.
  • Democratic House leadership issued a statement on Sunday, calling on the administration to "immediately extend the moratorium" through Oct. 18.  
  • Bush tweeted on Monday that she met with Vice President Harris to ask for help preventing "our people from being evicted."
    • "Madam Vice President, let’s work together to get this done," she added. "We need a federal eviction moratorium."

Details: The president has directed his Cabinet departments to "use their powers to prevent evictions and tell landlords: If your government is backing your mortgage or providing you housing tax relief, you should not be choosing eviction over the Emergency Rental Assistance we have provided to make you whole and keep your tenants and their families safely housed."

The Biden administration is urging states and localities to:

  • Extend or institute evictions bans for at least the next two months.
  • Deploy funding to pay landlords so renters can remain in their current housing.
  • Ensure evictions are a last, not first, resort.

What they're saying: "[E]even though funds began to be distributed in February by the Biden Administration, too many States and cities have been too slow to act," press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Monday.

  • "As the Administration made clear last week, there is no excuse for any State or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress appropriated to meet the critical need of so many Americans."
Go deeper