Conservatives, GOP oppose Biden's eviction-ban extension, hint at court challenge

Supreme Court already warned any further extension of the ban would require congressional approval.

Updated: August 4, 2021 - 4:40pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Biden administration's decision Tuesday to extend the pandemic-related eviction ban was largely done under pressure from Washington Democrats' liberal wing and widely oppose by fiscal conservative and Republicans asking how much is enough and expected to make another Supreme Court challenge.  

The decision follows the progressive members sleeping overnight on the U.S. Capitol steps, to represent homelessness, after the ban expired Friday, and while accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of failing the party's progressive base.

Pelosi took the blame and passed it on over to the Biden administration. The White House said it lacks the legal authority to act unilaterally in renewing the ban. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ultimately issued the new hold on evictions, arguing that evicted people could endanger public health and stall efforts to end the pandemic.

The ban applies exclusively to areas of the nation currently classified as having high or substantial transmission rates of the virus.

One White House adviser estimates the coverage will include 90% of the U.S. population. The new ban is set to last through Oct. 3, though the President Biden acknowledged that it will likely face legal scrutiny, insofar as it may not be constitutional.

The Supreme Court already warned after then-President Trump's initial eviction moratorium that any further extension of the ban would require congressional approval, a ruling that likely invites another high court request to intervene. 

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board asked Wednesday morning: When will this end? 

"The public-health powers of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not extend to an interminable blanket prohibition of evictions across the entire nation," the fiscally-conservative-mined board wrote. "Any ban also may be an unconstitutional 'taking' of property under the Fifth Amendment, though that’s an argument for another day. The point is that for 11 months President Trump and President Biden stretched their authority, but now Mr. Biden must heed the Supreme Court’s warning."

Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey tweeted after the CDC move was announced: "The eviction moratorium lacks both a legal basis and an economic justification. Even the president admitted today that the ‘bulk of constitutional scholars say ... it's not likely to pass constitutional muster."

The CDC's most recent issuance was not approved by Congress and places landlords, some of whom have not received income from their properties going on a year despite still being responsible for taxes on those properties, in a bad spot without legal recourse.

The Journal points out that labor markets are taut as can be in many states, and where they are not, Covid policy is the issue, not necessarily the pandemic itself. Regardless of its intentions, the Biden administration may very well be extending the negative policy effects of the pandemic with the (perhaps illegal) extension.

Just the News Spotlight