Joe Biden has declined to extend a directive that blocks the eviction of people who don’t pay their rent. Biden had appealed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider extending the order, but the agency concluded that it lacked the legal authority to do so.
It does lack such authority, and so does Biden. Only Congress can extend the moratorium.
In June, the Supreme Court, per Justice Kavanaugh, nonetheless ruled that the moratorium on evictions could be extended for one month without congressional action. Kavanaugh made it clear, however, that if Congress didn’t act within that time, the moratorium would have to end.
In the face of that ruling, Biden would have acted lawlessly, and plainly so, had he extended the moratorium by executive order. But that is what the left wanted him to do.
It is quite upset that he didn’t. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, accused the White House of “not think[ing] about this eviction moratorium in a serious way.”
Jayapal and other congressional lefties also accuse Biden of “taking them for granted.” But the White House counters that it is pushing through a remarkable number of left-liberal priorities, given that the Senate is split 50-50 and Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the House.
The White House is right. Considering the razor thin Democratic majorities in both chambers and given that Biden ran for president as something of a moderate, the White House has been very aggressive in doing the left’s bidding.
If anything, Biden is taking the rest of America for granted.
Congressional leftists seem to understand this at some level. According to the Washington Post, many of them “believe that this could be their only chance for years to enact major change, because Democrats could lose control of Congress next year, a fear that helps explain some of the current passion.”
But the fear cuts both ways, or should. Concern about the next two elections might counsel in favor of not pushing the envelope too hard and maybe even in favor of declining to issue a patently illegal executive order that courts would bounce without hesitation.
Not as far as the left is concerned, however. And I guess you can’t really blame it for going for broke.
The big question is whether its alliance with the White House will crumble. The Post suggests that the alliance is “fraying.”
It might be. But, my view, for what it’s worth, is that it won’t unravel. The congressional left has influence only insofar as it works with the White House. And the White House, which at root is highly sympathetic, will likely to continue to allow it to exert more influence than is good for Biden, not to mention the nation.