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Biden urges Congress to act on eviction moratorium

July 29, 2021, 7:50 PM UTC

President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to extend the moratorium on evictions that is set to expire Saturday, saying a Supreme Court ruling prevents him from doing so himself.

Administration officials say they’re trying to prevent thousands of people from losing their homes as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, causing a sharp rise in infections. They say they would have supported another moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that Congress would have to authorize any additional extensions.

“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,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a statement.

Biden has also asked the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs to extend their respective eviction moratoria through the end of September. He urged cities to accelerate their efforts to disperse Emergency Rental Assistance.

“With some cities and states demonstrating their ability to release these funds efficiently to tenants and landlords in need, there can be no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress appropriated to meet this critical need of so many Americans,” said Psaki.

The government agency delivered more than $1.5 billion in assistance last month, as the number of households served grew by 85% over the previous month to 290,000. That number has tripled since April.

Still, people who are unable to avoid eviction could find themselves in an even more perilous position as they look for a new place. Rent prices are spiking as the economy begins to recover from the pandemic.

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