Washington, Aug 3 (IANS): The White House said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have the legal authority to renew an eviction ban to prevent millions of American renters of being forced from their homes during the re-surging of the coronavirus pandemic.
Facing growing pressure from Democratic lawmakers over the weekend, the White House said on Monday that so far the CDC has been "unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium", reports Xinhua news agency
"In the meantime, the President will continue to do everything in his power to help renters from eviction," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Also on Monday, resident Joe Biden called on all states and cities to extend or put in place policies to freeze evictions for at least two months, citing the rising urgency of containing the spread of the Delta variant.
He also urged landlords to hold off on evictions for the next 30 days as the White House scrambles for solution to the eviction ban, suggesting that rather than evicting tenants who are behind in their payments, landlords can seek federal emergency rental assistance recently allocated for them.
Congress failed to extend the ban on July 30 when the federal eviction moratorium issued by the CDC expired.
The Supreme Court ruled in late June that the ban can remain in place through the end of July but the CDC overstepped its authority when it created the policy and any further extension would require congressional authorization.
"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available," Psaki said, urging the Congress to extend the eviction moratorium "without delay".
House Democratic leaders said over the weekend that "it is clear" the evenly split Senate won't extend the eviction moratorium, urging the White House to take unilateral action.
The moratorium was credited with keeping more than two million renters in their homes during the rampant pandemic across the country, said a USA Today report.