Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling on the White House to “get its act together” and extend the eviction moratorium — suggesting that President Biden could prolong the ban using an executive order — despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that it would require legislation from Congress.
“So the message of the day is the White House needs to get its act together and extend the eviction moratorium. We do not want to hear the excuses about what will the court do, etc.,” the self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” told a crowd camped out on the Capitol steps.
“The administration had no problem with what their authorities were when they decided to authorize military strikes without congressional authorization and informing Congress earlier this year,” Ocasio-Cortez said, according to a video she posted on her Instagram account.
People supporting the extension, including members of “The Squad” — Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — began camping out on the steps Friday night to highlight the expiration of the moratorium at midnight Saturday.
Ocasio-Cortez cited the administration using an executive order in April to limit refugee admissions to the same cap set by former President Donald Trump.
“So I’m sure they can find it in their authority to challenge the eviction moratorium expiring. … Maybe we can dig into our little executive action authority here. But we think that he can do it, I mean Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi thinks he can do it,” she said.
“So really I think this is coming down to political will: Is the administration willing to challenge it or are we going to roll over and allow one in six renters in this country be at risk of eviction. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed a moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Court decided in June that the CDC overstepped its authority but did not lift the ban because the ban was expiring at the end of July and that deadline would allow federal rental assistance funds to be distributed to those who need it.
“In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the decision.
Despite the June ruling, the Biden White House didn’t direct Congress to take up the matter until last week.
”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 in a statement last Thursday.
The president on Monday urged states to use the $47 billion in unspent rental assistance money allocated in coronavirus relief bills to help renters and homeowners.
”As the administration made clear last week, there is no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress appropriated to meet the critical need of so many Americans,” Psaki said in a statement.
Ocasio-Cortez said nobody should be evicted from their home as long as federal funds are available.
“There’s $46 billion in rental assistance that has been authorized. Only $3 billion has been released by states and local municipalities,” she said.
“We cannot be kicking people out of their homes when the money that is authorized to pay back rent hasn’t been released. And so we need to extend the moratorium,” she said.