KEY POINTS

  • The previous eviction moratorium expired Saturday night
  • The CDC issued a new ban that would last through Oct. 3
  • President Biden said he does not have authority to extend the moratorium

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued an extension on certain evictions in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

The new two-month ban will cover parts of the country that are experiencing a “substantial” or “high” spread of the novel coronavirus, which could account for 80% of U.S. counties and 90% of the population. These places include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, among others, according to data from the CDC. The new freeze will last until Oct. 3. 

"In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria -- like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing -- can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease,” the CDC said in the order, as reported by CNN.

“Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes,” it further stated.

The previous ban on evictions expired Saturday night, forcing progressives to pressure President Joe Biden’s administration to extend the pause. 

However, the president’s aides argued that he lacked the authority to renew the moratorium, citing Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s opinion that an extension should require approval from the U.S. Congress. 

“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” Kavanaugh wrote. 

The White House last week called on Congress to pass a measure that would extend the eviction moratorium. 

"In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, according to Fox News

However, neither the House nor the Senate took the extension to vote, leading to the expiration of the eviction ban. This pushed some progressive Democrats in the House to camp out on the steps of the Capitol to protest the inaction of the Democrats in Congress and President Biden. 

"Since Friday—when some colleagues chose early vacation over voting to prevent evictions—we’ve been at the Capitol. It’s an eviction emergency. Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now,” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said in a Monday morning tweet. 

It is unclear whether Congress or the White House would retake the now-lapsed eviction moratorium after lawmakers return to session. 

Protesters march against evictions in New York, in September 2020 Protesters march against evictions in New York, in September 2020 Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss