Three days after the Center for Disease Control’s moratorium on evictions was allowed to lapse, and under pressure from Congress (most notably Representative Cori Bush’s brave and attention-grabbing protests), the CDC announced a new and somewhat less sweeping suspension that will last for 60 days. Designed to satisfy judicial concerns about the agency’s authority to issue the original moratorium — or at least to buy time for congressional action to supply the appropriate legal powers — the revised order applies to renters in areas with recent COVID-19 case surges. According to President Biden, those areas experiencing high levels of community transmission cover an estimated 90 percent of all U.S. renters.
It remains unclear why the administration waited until the order’s expiration to take this action, having issued a panicky-sounding call on Congress to pass legislation last week when it was clear it was too late. In a presser on a variety of COVID-19 issues at which Biden announced the impending CDC measure, the president did not exactly accept responsibility for the snafu, suggesting instead that the continued threat of evictions was attributable to the failure of states and counties to promptly distribute the rental assistance funds authorized in the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 stimulus bills.
Relieved renters (or at least those in the affected areas) probably don’t care who did or did not do what and when. But this seems the most accurate assessment as of this moment:
Or at least it moved Washington, which is even more impressive.