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President Biden at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A group of landlords and real-estate companies issued a legal challenge on Wednesday night in a D.C. district court to the Biden administration's new national eviction moratorium.

Driving the news: The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors' emergency motion argues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order Tuesday barring evictions for most of the U.S. through Oct. 3 exceeds the CDC's powers, according to a statement from the National Association of Realtors.

  • The groups cited a June Supreme Court decision that declined to override the previous extension through July 31.
  • The National Association of Realtors said in its statement that about half of all housing providers "are mom-and-pop operators" and without rental income, "they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties."
  • If successful, the challenge could put millions of people at risk of falling behind on their rents or becoming homeless during the pandemic as the Delta variant rages across many parts of the U.S.

The big picture: The Biden administration allowed the previous eviction moratorium to expire, saying it didn't have the legal authority to extend the ban and urging Congress to act.

  • But the administration changed course after pressure from Democrats — in particular progressives including Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who protested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Of note: The new order temporarily halts evictions in counties with higher COVID-19 cases and should cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives, AP notes.

  • The landlord and realtor groups argue in their filing that the CDC extended the moratorium in the "absence of executive legal authority," per the Washington Post.

Flashback: In the Supreme Court ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's three liberal justices in leaving the CDC's earlier moratorium in place.

  • Kavanaugh agreed that the CDC had exceeded its authority in enacting the moratorium, but said the extension would allow the government "additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds."

What they're saying: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Biden, who has a law degree, wouldn't have backed the action if he weren't comfortable with the legality of the matter, per AP.

  • "This is a narrow, targeted moratorium that is different from the national moratorium. It’s not an extension of that," she said.

Go deeper

Florida lawmaker introduces abortion bill modeled after Texas law

A view of the old Florida Capitol building, which sits in front of the current Capitol building, in Tallahassee. Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

A Florida lawmaker introduced a bill Wednesday modeled after Texas' new law prohibiting abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: Similar bills introduced to the Florida legislature have failed, but that was before the Supreme Court declined to block Texas' law, which is the most restrictive abortion law to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, according to AP.

Pence says he hopes Supreme Court will overturn abortion rights

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaking in Budapest on Sept. 23. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he's hopeful the majority-conservative Supreme Court secured during the Trump administration will overturn abortion rights in the United States, according to AP.

Why it matters: Pence made the comments at a biennial forum held in Budapest by conservative leaders concerned about changes in demographics, family values, fertility rates and illegal immigration into Western countries.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.