Progressive pressure sparks new eviction moratorium as legal questions loom

National

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) — Rep. Cori Bush did not plan on stopping. Bush, once homeless herself, spent nearly a week camped out in front of the U.S. Capitol building in protest of the expiration of the eviction moratorium. This protest directly led President Joe Biden to reverse course, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new moratorium Tuesday evening.

“Activists are in Congress,” Bush said. “So, let’s be clear. Activists are in Congress.”

Bush was joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jimmy Gomez, and others throughout her protest. Ocasio-Cortez hailed Biden’s reversal as a victory for peaceful protest.

“It is a huge victory for the power of direct action and not taking no for an answer,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

The CDC announced Tuesday a new moratorium that keys in on areas of the country with rising cases of COVID-19. The CDC expects the moratorium to cover approximately 80% of counties in the U.S., equating to about 90% of the population. As it stands, it will run until Oct. 3. However, Biden is uncertain of the legality of the new moratorium.

“I think it is,” Biden said when asked about the constitutionality of the new moratorium.

Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the old moratorium to continue through the end of July.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, wrote that he thought the CDC overstepped its boundaries by extending the former moratorium.

“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds,” Kavanaugh wrote. “I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order.”

Ocasio-Cortez echoed this at the Capitol, saying the moratorium was needed to continue to push federal rental assistance funds out.

“We need governors and municipalities to get emergency rental assistance funds out. That is what the point of this moratorium is to buy time,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

However, Kavanaugh issued a warning to both the Biden Administration and the CDC, saying they needed “Congressional authority” to extend the moratorium beyond July 31.

“Clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” Kavanaugh said.

Biden and the CDC’s actions initially abided by Kavanaugh’s opinion, pushing the issue toward Congress. However, creating a new temporary moratorium this past week directly contradicts Kavanaugh’s deciding opinion.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argued this was a completely different moratorium.

“This is a narrow, targeted moratorium that is different from the national moratorium. It’s not an extension of that,” Psaki said.

Landlords and real estate companies have wasted no time challenging the new moratorium. The Alabama and Georgia Association of Realtors filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. Wednesday, pushing for evictions to resume.

If the courts do not get involved, the moratorium will either expire on Oct. 3 or until infection rates significantly drop.

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