White House says it can't extend eviction moratorium

During the White House press briefing on Monday, American Rescue Plan coordinator Gene Sperling said President Biden is using “whatever federal authority” he has to stop evictions.

Video Transcript

GENE SPERLING: On evictions, the president has long fought for an eviction moratorium. He actually proposed extending an eviction moratorium to September 30th when he came into office. And I believe that was not possible due to reconciliation rules, but that was his initial policy position he put forward.

He has also supported the CDC extending their eviction moratorium, first from January 20th May 31st, then from May 31st until June 30th. And then even when there was legal questions and legal risk, he supported them extending it through July 31st. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court declared on June 29th that the CDC could not grant such an extension without clear and specific congressional authorization.

But given the rising urgency of the spread of the Delta variant, the president has asked all of us, including the CDC, to do everything in our power to look for every potential legal authority we can have to prevent evictions. To date, the CDC director and her team have been unable to find legal authority even for a more targeted eviction moratorium that would focus just on counties with higher rates of COVID spread.

But again, the president's focus is for us to do everything within our power. Or I should say, everything within anyone's power to help prevent unnecessary, unavoidable, and painful evictions. One of the things that he is requesting today is that state and local governments extend or pass eviction moratoriums to cover the next two months.

Right now, 1 out of 3 renters who are behind in the rent are actually protected beyond the federal eviction moratorium by extended state and local evictions moratoriums. The president is asking that all governors and mayors follow suit and extend moratoriums for up to four-- not up to, but for two months.

Two, this president is asking that his departments that provide mortgage backed lending extend whatever eviction moratoriums they have the power to extend. So that covers USDA, and VA, and HUD. Third, we have already announced that those with federally backed mortgages may not evict without 30 days of notice.

But today, the president is going further in the statement Friday, and then hit by the cabinet members. And in his instruction today, he is asking the USDA, VA, and HUD, and the Treasury Department as well, make clear that those who benefit from government backed mortgages, or even tax relief related to housing, should not seek evictions without first seeking emergency rental assistance funding that allows-- that makes landlords completely whole, that can pay up to 18 months of forward and back rent and utilities that we want anybody who's got a government backed mortgage to seek that type of relief.

Finally, as the congressional leadership discussed and asked, we are going to do an all agency review to make sure that we understand any potential reason why state and local governments are not getting funds out, and making sure that we are using all authorities, whatever federal authority that we have to prevent evictions.