Over 3.6 million Americans face the risk of being evicted. Some of these evictions will occur in as little as a matter days. Nearly $47 billion in federal housing assistance to the states during the pandemic was slow to reach renters and landlords who owe payments. The moratorium ends at midnight.
Late Friday night, tensions grew as it became apparent that there was no solution. Biden called upon local governments to immediately disburse funds hours before the ban was due to expire. Evictions could start as early as Monday.
Biden stated in a statement that "there can be no excuse for any government or locality not accelerating funding to landlords and tenants who have been affected during this pandemic."
He stated that every state and each local government must release these funds to make sure we stop all evictions.
This stunning result, in which Congress and the White House expected each other to act, revealed a rare division between the president's allies on Capitol Hill. It could have lasting consequences as renters across the country face mass evictions.
Biden started the chaos by announcing that he would let the eviction ban expire, rather than challenging a Supreme Court decision signalling this was the last deadline. On Thursday, he called for Congress to quickly pass legislation to extend this date.
Democrats tried to gather the votes Friday as they raced to respond. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, urged her colleagues to extend the deadline to protect tenants and landlords who owe compensation.
She stated that Congress must meet the "needs of the American people: both those who are unable to afford rent and those who will pay it," late Thursday in an overnight letter.
After hours of behind-the scenes wrangling throughout day, Democratic lawmakers still had questions and couldn't rally support to extend the ban for even a few more months. The House Republicans opposed an attempt to approve an extension by consent without a formal vote. The Senate could try again Saturday.
Democratic legislators were furious at the idea of evictions during a pandemic.
"Housing is a primary social indicator for health, in and itself," stated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D.N.Y. "A mass expulsion in the United States does not constitute a public health emergency unto itself."
Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the chair of the Financial Services Committee, stated that House leaders should have held the vote even if the bill failed to pass to show Americans that they are trying to solve the problem.
Waters testified Friday morning, urging her colleagues and asking them to take action. "What is the hell going to happen to these kids?"
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican who is the top Republican on a separate panel that deals with the issue, stated that the Democrats' bill was rushed.
This ban was originally put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 among people who were homeless or living on the streets.
In the COVID-19 crisis, Congress sent nearly $47 billion to states to help landlords and renters. Many people lost their jobs when their workplaces were shut down.
However, lawmakers claimed that state governments have been slow in disbursing the funds. They claimed that only $3 billion had been spent on Friday.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 6.4 million households in America were behind on rent by March 31st. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, 3.6 million Americans were facing eviction within the next two-months as of July 5.
Some areas will experience a spike in evictions beginning Monday. Other jurisdictions will see an increase of court filings which will lead to evictions within several months.
Biden said Thursday that the administration's hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled the moratorium would only be extended until the end of the month.
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House deputy press secretary, stated that the administration supports the congressional effort to "extend the eviction moratorium in order to protect these vulnerable renters' families."
According to the White House, Biden would like to extend the federal moratorium on evictions due to the widespread spread of the highly contagious coronavirus delta variant. There were concerns, however, that a court challenge could result in a ruling restricting government's ability respond to future public-health crises.
The administration is working to ensure that renters are not displaced by other means. In June, it released over $1.5 billion of rental assistance, which reached nearly 300,000 households. Biden asked the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture to extend their eviction moratoriums for households who live in single-family, federally insured homes on Thursday. Late Friday, the agencies issued a statement confirming that the ban on foreclosures would be extended through September.
On a 5-4 vote last month, the Supreme Court allowed the broad eviction ban to continue through the end of July. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the majority and stated that he would not allow any extensions unless Congress authorized it.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., and Senator Sherrod Brown, D.Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D.Ohio, who is the Chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, both were working on legislation to prolong the moratorium and asked Republicans to not block it.
Diane Yentel (executive director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition) stated that extended protections for renters are a public health necessity. "If a broad extension is not possible due to federal court cases, the Biden administration should consider other options, such as a less restrictive moratorium on federally-backed properties.
The moratorium was opposed by landlords who challenged it in court repeatedly. They are now against any extension. They are also arguing for a faster distribution of rental aid.
A federal lawsuit was filed by the National Apartment Association and others this week, seeking $26 billion in damages due to the effects of the moratorium.
Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the association, stated that any extension to the eviction moratorium would equate to an unfunded mandate that forces housing providers and saddle renters with insurmountable amounts. He also said that the current crisis highlights the need for affordable housing.