'You can be sure of one thing, whatever is in the power of this president to do to prevent evictions he is committed to doing,' American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling stated Monday at the daily press briefing. 'This is a president who really understands the heartbreak of eviction.'
In a lengthy statement on the crisis, which will see thousands lose their homes as rent is due on the first of the month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted the president asked his administration to come up with executive action to extend the moratorium.
But, she conceded, they were unable to do so.
'CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team have been unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium. Our team is redoubling efforts to identify all available legal authorities to provide necessary protections,' she noted.
The federal eviction moratorium was put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November. A June ruling by the Supreme Court led administration officials to concede the agency could not do so.
In Monday's statement, Biden called on states and localities to extend or put in place evictions moratoria for at least the next two months and for landlords to give a 30-day break. He directed federal agencies to extend all the moratorium they were allowed to do.
The administration also called on states to speed up issuing housing funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan.
'No one in America should be evicted when Federal funds are available, in the hands of State and local government, to pay back rent due,' Psaki declared in her statement.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday again pressed the White House to extend the eviction moratorium after lawmakers failed to act.
'On Thursday, @POTUS asked Congress to pass an extension of the eviction moratorium. Sadly, it's clear the Senate is not able to do so & any legislation in the House, therefore, won't be sufficient to extend the moratorium. Action is needed & it must come from the Administration,' she wrote.
The White House defended its actions.
President Biden 'has double, triple, quadruple checks. He has asked the CDC to look at whether you could even do targeted eviction moratoriums that just went to the counties that have higher [COVID] rates, and they, as well, have been unable to find the legal authority for even new targeted eviction moratoriums,' Sperling stated.
Anger is growing among Democrats as the administration and leadership struggle to find a solution to the eviction crisis.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Democratic Rep. Cori Bush and the others on steps to protest the lack of help for those facing eviction.