Pelosi fails to pass eviction moratorium extension legislation before recess

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) failed to deliver for her fellow Democrats on Friday.

The Washington Examiner reports that Pelosi’s last-ditch effort to extend the federal eviction moratorium on Friday, before Congress’s August recess, fell through. 

The scramble took place on Friday with Pelosi and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Financial Services Committee chairwoman, working to try to secure enough votes for the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021 bill. The pair, however, were not able to get the job done.

Congress will now break for recess until September with the eviction moratorium expiring on July 31.

What’s going on?

For several weeks, it appeared as if President Joe Biden’s administration decided to let the federal eviction moratorium expire on July 31, as scheduled. The last extension for the moratorium came at the end of June, and the Biden administration made clear at the time that it would be the last extension.

On Thursday, however, the Biden administration seemingly changed its mind. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the cause of this change was “the recent spread of the Delta variant” of COVID-19, “including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations.”

Psaki indicated that the Biden administration wants to extend the moratorium, but legally can’t without Congress, which is due to a Supreme Court decision.

In a recent ruling, SCOTUS made it clear that any further effort to extend the federal eviction moratorium, past July 31, would require congressional approval.

That ruling is what sent Pelosi into a scramble in an attempt to pass the Evictions Act of 2021 bill, which ultimately failed. Notably, in case Pelosi tries again, even if she succeeds, it’s unlikely that the measure would have made it past the Senate filibuster.

Mostly unused funds

Thus far, only about $3 billion of the $46.5 billion of the rental relief that has been approved by Congress has been distributed to renters.

Going forward, about half of that total will still be available through the fall of 2022, and the remaining half will be made available until the fall of 2025.

The White House has reportedly been pushing various localities to get the relief funds disbursed to communities where they’re needed most.

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