Joe Biden ran for president as the “moderate” who was in lockstep with the average American, not woke progressives. As those who’ve followed his career predicted, however, he has governed as the partisan hack he is: When woke progressives say, “Jump,” he meekly asks, “How high?”
No surprise, then, that three unidentified “people aware of the matter” have alerted the Washington Post that, due to “intense pressure from liberal House Democrats,” the Biden administration is planning to take a unilateral step to reinstate the eviction moratorium in some form.
The specifics of the anticipated action have not been described, except that it is expected to be “announced by the CDC.” In classic non-sequitur, the Post relates:
The Biden administration has repeatedly insisted that it lacked the legal authority to renew that program. However, the delta variant has renewed concerns about the impact of the expiring moratorium on millions of renters and White House officials have explored other options.
Of course, even if it were true that a moratorium on evictions would have a material impact on the spread of an infectious disease (and there is no evidence that it would), that could not change the fact that the president lacks authority to ban evictions.
On Monday, White House adviser and longtime Democratic policy guru Gene Sperling asserted:
Well, I would say that on this particular issue, the President has not only kicked the tires; he has double, triple, quadruple checked. He has asked the CDC to look at whether you could even do targeted eviction moratorium — that just went to the counties that have higher rates — and they, as well, have been unable to find the legal authority for even new, targeted eviction moratoriums.
No surprise there. As we’ve noted here (see, e.g., my latest, Charlie’s latest, and our recent editorial), a number of court decisions held the moratorium invalid on statutory and constitutional grounds, and the Supreme Court was poised to kill it a month ago. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who would have been the fifth vote, declined to kill it there and then, but only because he rationalized that it was going to lapse in five weeks anyway, and the additional time would provide for an “orderly” wind-down. Still, Kavanaugh emphasized that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
Of course, the executive branch has lawlessly continued the moratorium precisely because there are not enough votes in the Democratically controlled Congress to put a legislative authorization on Biden’s desk — assuming, for argument’s sake, that such legislation would pass constitutional muster. The votes are not there because (a) the owners of rental properties are overwhelmingly small-business people who are being crushed by the moratorium, and (b) Congress has already lavished $47 billion in aid for renters, but as of this weekend 93 percent of it hadn’t been disbursed.
So, this is not the crisis that progressives and their media allies portray it as, and there is no national consensus supporting a moratorium. For the Biden who ran for the presidency, that would have been enough to end the discussion. But for the Biden who is president, what matters is that the party’s Bolshevik wing is continuing its tirade and doesn’t care a whit that what it is demanding is lawless.
It was the Constitution that Biden swore to preserve, protect, and defend back in January, wasn’t it?