The problem is that it’s unclear whether the White House has the legal authority to act on its own. And, in fact, the White House has indicated that it doesn’t, saying it has been unable to find a legal option for the federal government to extend the moratorium.
However, as Democratic lawmakers have pushed on Biden to extend the moratorium — regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision — the administration has announced that it continues to look for legal authority to extend the moratorium.
One administration official told CNN: “We spent a lot of time looking at it. The Supreme Court ruling is very clear.”
So far, only a small fraction of the $47 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program has been distributed. While some states have extended their own moratoriums an estimated 11 million adult renters are currently behind on rent.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki sought to further explain Biden’s thinking on Tuesday, suggesting a challenge to the court could hamper the federal government’s public health authorities going forward.
“There are concerns about what the impact would be on the long term abilities, authorities, of the CDC. Their team is looking closely, carefully, has been since the president asked them to on Sunday, at what our options are here,” she said, responding to a question from CNN’s Phil Mattingly
During a press conference Tuesday, Biden told reporters that “any call for a moratorium, based on the Supreme Court(‘s) recent decision, is likely to face obstacles.” Biden said that he has asked the CDC to “look at other alternatives” and said the agency would make an announcement later in the day.
Biden said that while it’s unclear if new action from the CDC would survive the courts, “at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated it will probably give some additional time while we’re” distributing the ERA funds. The President said he’s hoping the new moratorium from the CDC will “in some way (cover) close to 90% of the American people who are renters.”
Prior to the expected announcement, Psaki indicated the White House was exploring additional powers to push states to enact their own eviction bans, noting there is emergency rental assistance funding available to help allay financial hardships for renters and landlords.
“We are continuing to work on several tracks on this front. The President wants to keep people in their homes,” she said.
This story has been updated.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Kaitlin Collins contributed to this article.