The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the constitutional authority to impose a ban on evictions nationwide. That seemed to end the argument that the government could unilaterally interfere with interstate commerce in this fashion.
But where there’s a will on the left, there’s a way. And government control over private property is one of the primary goals in the left’s plan to transform America. So the Biden administration is looking at alternative actions that could be used to maintain the ban that keeps landlords from evicting tenants.
One sure way would be to get the Democratic Congress to pass a ban on evictions. The statutory justifications would be a lot stronger given the constitutional power granted to Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
But it’s a politically dead issue. Even some Democrats would balk at extending an eviction ban given the perilous financial state of many business owners. The crisis is as much a landlord problem as it is a tenant problem.
Only $3 billion of the $47 billion in pandemic assistance to homeowners and renters has been spent, so it’s not like there isn’t a solution staring Congress in the face. But the state bureaucracies have made the paperwork so confusing that many renters find they have to fill out forms two or three times to get any assistance at all. A process that’s supposed to quicky disburse funds to tenants who need it has been swallowed by red tape.
The Biden administration is trying to find the authority for the CDC to issue a temporary 30-day moratorium in areas hardest hit by the pandemic. But that doesn’t solve the problem.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “To date, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team have been unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium. Our team is redoubling efforts to identify all available legal authorities to provide necessary protections. In the meantime, the President will continue to do everything in his power to help renters from eviction.”
The left doesn’t seem to get it. There’s $47 billion in pandemic relief assistance for renters burning a hole in the pockets of bureaucrats — executive department bureaucrats. Perhaps the solution is for the head of the executive departments — Joe Biden, president of the United States — to speed up the process of approving the rental aid that Congress has already appropriated.
But that would be too easy and not very dramatic. And it wouldn’t give Squad member Rep. Cori Bush the opportunity to emote all over Twitter. Bush is “camped out” — sort of — with about a dozen activists
5 AM. This morning felt cold, like the wind was blowing straight through my sleeping bag.
Since Friday—when some colleagues chose early vacation over voting to prevent evictions—we’ve been at the Capitol.
It’s an eviction emergency. Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) August 2, 2021
At 5:00 a.m., it was a pleasant 71 degrees in Washington, D.C., despite Bush’s portrayal of arctic cold being endured by the protesters sleeping on the Capitol steps.
“Eviction Theater” will continue. There will be no mass evictions largely because most states have maintained their own moratoriums and because landlords aren’t stupid. Why throw out a tenant who’s been paying rent? For those who weren’t paying rent before the pandemic began, why continue to protect them?
It’s amazing what human beings are capable of on their own without direction and assistance from the government. Arrangements will be made and terms negotiated. There will be compassion for those deserving of compassion, and gratitude from renters for a landlord’s forbearance. All an eviction ban would accomplish at this point is to give a feeling of self-satisfaction to radical leftists who see themselves in heroic terms, saving renters from greedy, evil (racist) landlords.
Getting back to “normal” requires an end to this sort of drama.