President Joe Biden’s quick turnaround on the possibility of a renewed eviction moratorium has left some asking what changed between their first announcement that there wasn’t “legal authority” and now.
Today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against the questions to say there wasn’t really a change at all.
“It’s important to take a step back a little bit before that, to Sunday, when the white house was engaged directly with the CDC at the direction of the President to ask them to look into whether legal options, if any, existed,” said Psaki.
The proposed moratorium isn’t actually an extension of the recently lapsed moratorium implemented by the CDC last fall. Since the Supreme Court ruled the CDC had no legal authority to renew the moratorium, the new proposal has changed parameters.
Biden has put forward a proposal for a localized moratorium helping the areas hardest hit by COVID-19. Biden has previously said the new moratorium would benefit close to 90% of renters.
The president supports the legal justification, but has publicly expressed concern around the constitutionality of the new moratorium which has drawn concern around the future of its success. Psaki stressed the President’s commitment to the issue.
“He’s going to do everything in his power to make sure they can stay in their homes as long as possible,” said Psaki. She clarified that the White House effort is bout using “every tool” at their disposal to get rent assistance money out.
According to Psaki, states have been given funding for emergency rental assistance from the American Rescue Plan. Now it’s a question of whether different states will distribute that money.
Psaki announced that the department of Housing and Urban Development is committed to doing “everything in their power” to stop evictions, including the White House effort to simplify forms and cut down on undue documentation burdens.
Psaki said places that have put these practices into help have seen success, specifically Texas and Virginia.
“Virginia is the second highest nationwide distributed of ERA funds in the nation and has given out 223 million to tenants and landlords in need,” said Psaki.
The funding, if accessed can benefit both renters and landlords. The White House has openly put pressure on state and local governments to distribute the ERA (Emergency Rental Assistance) Funds.
Still, Psaki made clear that the White House is pursuing multiple avenues as the threat of eviction worries the nation.
“The overall objective is not about one tool, it is about keeping people in their homes, that’s the goal,” said Psaki.
White House Stands By Call for Cuomo to Resign
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo still has not resigned in the wake of a bombshell sexual harassment report that said he sexually harassed 11 women. Biden, along with many high profile figures has called for Cuomo to resign.
Psaki said nobody from the White House, including the President, has spoken to Cuomo recently, but resisted looking beyond resignation. Some have called for impeachment or charges against the governor.
“The President made clear yesterday that Governor Cuomo should resign,” said Psaki, “we should start with that.”
Yet Psaki also stressed that Biden doesn’t want to harm the people of New York in proceedings. Cuomo has been a part of frequent calls with the White House on governors’ roles in fighting COVID-19.
“We’re going to continue to work with the administration in New York to continue to fight COVID,” said Psaki. She said if the leadership changes, they’ll work willingly with the new leader.