The eviction moratorium has been one of the most impactful policies of the COVID-19 pandemic and has received one of the little covered stories by the corporate media. On August 4, President Joe Biden took the story to a much higher level by disregarding the Constitution and his oath of office in extending the moratorium in a way he and his lawyers know is against the law. It is still doubtful that the media will bother with the story.
The continuing order declares that residential renters around the country are allowed to forego paying rent. Any landlords who violate the decree are at risk of criminal prosecution, resulting in huge fines and imprisonment.
As the pandemic and its surrounding narrative continue, Washington Democrats are becoming more daring in violating property rights and due process requirements in addition to the more familiar civil rights violations that have been endorsed and promoted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began the eviction moratorium in September of last year under President Trump. The justification for the suspension was based on the idea that people evicted from their homes might then move to places where they would be more likely to be in close contact, resulting in greater COVID transmission risk.
Biden extended the moratorium following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the CDC’s order was made without any legal authority under the Constitution. Despite that finding, the Court allowed the order to stand temporarily until July 31.
As late as August 2, the White House chief of COVID relief, Gene Sperling, said that the administration has “double, triple, quadruple checked” the legal possibility of extending the moratorium through administrative action only. At that time, the White House and the CDC’s lawyers found that everyone could not find legal authority for “even new, targeted eviction moratoriums.”
Then on August 3, Biden admitted that “the bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.” Then, amazingly, the CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki immediately falsely stated that the moratorium was not an extension but a new, more limited order. It was in direct conflict with Sperling’s statements one day before about the lack of CDC’s legal authority, even in the way Psaki now described.
Biden’s blatantly illegal action comes in the wake of a high-pressure campaign from the far-left Progressive House “Squad.” Led by Reps. Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, a group of lawmakers and staffers, started camping out on the steps of the Capitol in protest of the expiration of the moratorium. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly supported them, and the story was picked up quickly by social media and the corporate press.
Given the Supreme Court’s previous ruling on this matter, it seems likely that the administration and the media will soon have another story to spin to justify Democratic lawlessness.