(The Center Square) – The Biden administration announced a new moratorium on evictions Tuesday evening despite doubts over whether the order will hold up in court.
The order lasts 60 days and only applies to areas hit hardest by COVID. It was issued after the previous order expired Saturday and is expected to cover roughly 80% of counties in the U.S.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is issuing a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission in order to respond to recent, unexpected developments in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise of the Delta variant," says the order, signed by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky after President Joe Biden gave the go-ahead. "It is intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions."
The CDC issued a similar order last year, but the Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal agency overstepped its authority. When the order expired Saturday, Biden called on Congress to renew it.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on the Biden administration to act.
Biden's team first said they did not have the legal authority because of the Supreme Court's ruling but later issued the order anyway on Tuesday. This may set up a legal challenge to overturn the CDC order.
Pelosi welcomed the announcement Tuesday evening.
"Today is a day of extraordinary relief," Pelosi said. "Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, the imminent fear of eviction and being put out on the street has been lifted for countless families across America."