Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday opened the door to congressional action to renew a federal eviction moratorium even as House Democrats pressure President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE to do so himself.
In a Tuesday statement, Pelosi said, “House Democrats stand ready to work with the Administration as they search for ways to extend the moratorium,” despite insisting for days that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could renew the ban without congressional action.
“The crisis of families being evicted and put on the streets is a challenge to the conscience of the country, and Democrats’ commitment to immediately helping renters and landlords is a priority that unites our caucus,” Pelosi wrote.
“Our sole focus must be keeping people housed and we must do so with the urgency this moment deserves," she added.
House Democrats failed to muster enough support Friday to pass a bill extending and bolstering the legality of the CDC’s eviction ban before it lapsed on Aug. 1. Biden asked the House the day before, giving his party barely 48 hours to act before the lower chamber was scheduled to break for recess.
Pelosi and other Democratic caucus leaders have urged Biden and the CDC to renew the eviction ban even though the Supreme Court warned a month ago that another unilateral extension would be illegal without clear and direct authorization from Congress. The White House reiterated Monday that the CDC lacked the legal authority for another extension in light of the court’s decision.
Roughly 20 House Democrats opposed extending the CDC’s eviction ban, and it’s unlikely that Pelosi would reconvene the House during recess without a clear path toward passing another moratorium. Even if the House does act, the measure is likely to fall to a Republican filibuster in the Senate, where Democrats have a bare majority of 50 senators plus Vice President Harris’s tie-breaking vote.
But progressive Democrats insist that the government has an obligation to extend the eviction ban in some capacity, with millions of households facing homelessness amid the surge of the delta variant.
“What has become clear is that the quickest way to get this done is through the executive branch. We urge President Biden to extend relief to our neighbors who right now face eviction. Our sole focus must be keeping people housed and we must do so with the urgency this moment deserves,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) in a Monday statement. Bush, who has experienced homelessness herself, has camped on the steps of the Capitol since Thursday in protest of the CDC’s ban lapsing.