After the CDC could not find legal grounds to extend a moratorium on evictions that began early in the coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is pushing the CDC to do it anyway.
President Biden announced Thursday that he was not going to try to extend the moratorium, calling on Congress to take action instead. Waters, who unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill, expressed skepticism that the CDC could not extend the moratorium as they had done in the past.
"I don't buy that the CDC can't extend the eviction moratorium - something it has already done in the past!" Waters tweeted. "Who is going to stop them? Who is going to penalize them? There is no official ruling saying that they cannot extend this moratorium. C'mon CDC - have a heart! Just do it!"
Despite what Waters posted, there was an official ruling on this in May from U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who said the CDC acted outside the scope of its authority when it previously issued the moratorium. That order was put on hold pending an appeal of the decision, and while the Supreme Court denied a request to vacate the stay on the ruling, it was only because it was already set to expire on July 31.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion that he agrees that the CDC exceeded their power with the moratorium, and made clear that he was only allowing it to continue because it was about to end. Had Kavanaugh voted the other way, it would have been a 5-4 ruling to vacate the stay and Judge Friedrich's ruling against the moratorium would have taken effect.
"In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31," Kavanaugh wrote.
Waters' push for the CDC to go forward anyway came after the White House said the agency could not determine a legal avenue to do it.
"To date, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team have been unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium," White House Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "Our team is redoubling efforts to identify all available legal authorities to provide necessary protections."