WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) - A pandemic-related U.S.
government ban on residential evictions expired at midnight on
Saturday, putting millions of American renters at risk of being
forced from their homes.
The expiration was a blow to President Joe Biden, who on
Thursday made a last-ditch request to Congress to extend the
moratorium, citing the raging Delta variant.
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned
without reviewing the tenant protections after a Republican
congressman blocked a bid to extend it by unanimous consent
until Oct. 18. Democratic leaders said they lacked sufficient
support to put the proposal to a formal vote.
The U.S. Senate held a rare Saturday session but did not
address the eviction ban. The White House had made clear it
would not unilaterally extend the protections, arguing it does
not have legal authority to do so following a Supreme Court
ruling in June.
More than 15 million people in 6.5 million U.S. households
are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study by
the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project,
collectively owing more than $20 billion to landlords.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren on Saturday said that in
"every state in this country, families are sitting around their
kitchen table right now, trying to figure out how to survive a
devastating, disruptive and unnecessary eviction."
Democratic Representative Cori Bush and others spent Friday
night outside the U.S. Capitol https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-lawmaker-spends-night-outside-capitol-protest-return-evictions-2021-07-31
to call attention to the issue.
She asked how parents could go to work and take care of
children if they are evicted. "We cannot put people on the
street in a deadly global pandemic," Bush said on Saturday.
Landlord groups opposed the moratorium, and some landlords
have struggled to keep up with mortgage, tax and insurance
payments on properties without rental income.
An eviction moratorium has largely been in place under
various measures since late March 2020. The ban by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went into
effect in September 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19 and
prevent homelessness during the pandemic. It has been extended
multiple times, most recently through Saturday.
CDC said in June it would not issue further extensions. A
CDC spokeswoman confirmed that the moratorium had expired but
declined to comment further.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in explaining the need to extend
the eviction ban, noted that out of $46.5 billion in rental
relief previously approved by Congress, "only $3 billion has
been distributed to renters."
Late Saturday, Pelosi said lawmakers were demanding "the
$46.5 billion provided by Congress be distributed expeditiously
to renters and landlords."
Some Democratic lawmakers early Sunday were rallying outside
the Capitol to call for the ban's reinstatement.
Some states like California and New York have chosen to
extend eviction moratoriums beyond July 31. Federal agencies
that finance rental housing on Friday urged owners of those
properties to take advantage of assistance programs and avoid
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and