Covid Relief Bill will not extend the eviction ban, which expires this month. Millions of Americans could be at risk of losing their homes
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In the latest stimulus package that is making its way through Congress, there is no extension of the national eviction ban, which expires this month. This means that millions of Americans could be at risk of losing their homes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage.
President Joe Biden had asked Congress to keep the eviction moratorium in place through September.
However, since the Democrats have chosen to lead the legislation through a process known as budget balancing, they cannot include the eviction ban in the auxiliary bill.
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Democrats are pursuing the path of reconciliation so that they can push through a massive $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan without Republican support. Senate procedural rules typically require bills to receive 60 votes in order to move forward. Democrats only have 50 members, and Vice President Kamala Harris can cast an additional vote if necessary. The budget vote, on the other hand, only requires a simple majority.
But neither does it allow Democrats to incorporate Biden’s desire to extend the ban.
“Because an eviction moratorium itself does not make any direct changes to federal spending or income, it is not allowed as part of the reconciliation process,” said Douglas Rice, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Senate MP recently came to a similar conclusion about attempts by the Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage through reconciliation. The cost of raising the minimum wage and extending the eviction moratorium would largely be borne by the private sector, including small businesses and landlords.
To be included in the budget vote, a provision must “affect the federal government’s budget,” said Steven S. Smith, professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first announced the national eviction moratorium in September. It prohibits evacuation of people who have difficulty paying rent.
Lawyers urge the president
Proponents are now calling on the president to extend protection by order of the executive and to warn of a flood of evictions if no action is taken.
They point out that bill relief, including more than $ 20 billion in rental support and direct payments of up to $ 1,400, will take time to reach people.
“There is an eviction moratorium on this time,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
According to an analysis by the Center for Budgetary Policies and Priorities, around one in five tenants said they had not been overtaken on their rent in January. Closer to 36% of black tenants said they were staying behind.
A high volume of evictions could thwart the country’s efforts to get the pandemic under control. Recent research has found that evictions in one area lead to significantly more coronavirus cases and deaths.
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