Aug 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden expected to announce new eviction ban

President Biden

Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor

President Biden is expected to reveal a new, more "targeted" ban on evictions, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The Biden administration allowed the previous eviction moratorium to expire on Saturday night — putting millions of people at risk of homelessness.

  • The White House had said it didn't have the legal authority to extend the ban and called on Congress to act. Democrats on the Hill erupted at the White House over the past 72 hours and Biden quickly changed course.

Details: The new moratorium is expected to last 60 days — though the timeframe is still being debated — and the administration is designing it to target the hardest hit populations, the sources said.

  • The new eviction ban will cover 80% of counties — 90% of the U.S. renters population — these sources added, though they stressed the details were not finalized.
  • The New York Times and Washington Post first reported elements of this story.

Of note: Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued a statement Tuesday evening praising the news as a "huge victory."

  • "The President understands that we must keep people in their homes, and we thank him for acting. It is not an exaggeration to say that the President’s action today will save lives," Jayapal said.

The big picture: The Supreme Court last month made clear it would not tolerate the administration extending the ban again — that Congress would have to do it next time. The ban expired at midnight on Saturday.

  • The White House said Monday it hadn't found a legal theory to support extending the eviction ban — but made clear Biden had asked lawyers to search frantically for a new solution.
  • So what changed in 24 hours? It's not yet fully clear, but sources familiar with the situation stressed several features that they believe would give the moratorium a better chance in court.
  • First, it's a new ban rather than an extension of the old, rejected one. Second, it's more targeted to the people most infected by COVID given the rapid spread of the ultra-contagious Delta variant.
  • Therefore, expect the administration to argue that the new eviction ban is within the government's health authorities. Health and Human Services identified existing, legal authority for a new moratorium.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce the details later Tuesday.

Behind the scenes: The White House informed Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, along with chairs of relevant committees, of their thinking on Tuesday.

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