President Biden last week prompted Congress to take action to prolong the eviction moratorium, which has been in effect since last year, given a recent Supreme Court ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) passed its authority in enacting it.
Though, top House Democrats are urging the Biden administration to take action on its own to extend the moratorium. House Democrats were powerless to round up the votes in their own caucus last Friday to pass legislation that would lengthen the ban amid opposition from some moderates skeptical of restoring the moratorium while most federal pandemic assistance to help renters remains unspent.
And even if the House passed such a bill, it would probably stall in the Senate given broad GOP opposition to renewing the eviction moratorium.
"It is unfathomable that we would not act to prevent people from being evicted. Overwhelmingly, our members agreed to extend the moratorium and universally, to distribute the funds. But the House passing the eviction moratorium without the Senate acting does not extend the moratorium. Instead, the money must flow, and the moratorium must be extended by the Administration," Pelosi announced in Monday's letter.
The House adjourned on Friday for its August recess, with many members now back in their districts for the break. Pelosi stated that the House is "on 24-hour notice" in the event they want to return to Washington for any urgent legislative action.
Congress earmarked $46.5 billion worth of rental assistance through pandemic relief measures, but thus far just about $3 billion of that funding has been spent.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who has been evicted three times and lived out of her car for a period before becoming a member of Congress, has been sleeping on the Capitol steps since Friday night to protest the lapse of the eviction moratorium.
"It’s an eviction emergency. Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now," Bush tweeted Monday morning.