COVID-19 response by the federal government has had a substantial impact on the federal government’s power over the American economy. Fundamental civil freedoms have been eroded as one new takeover of civic life after another has occurred.
Restaurants, churches, sporting events, concerts, and untold other businesses and gathering places have been ordered closed or severely restricted. Ordinary Americans would have never imagined in the past that the government would assume such authority over daily life.
Perhaps the most devastating of all has been a federal agency of unelected bureaucrats seizing control of private rental contracts across the country. The moratorium on evictions and rent collection expanded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stands to ruin many small landlords economically.
A significant number of renters who do not need assistance have used the moratorium to ignore payments, as landlords are still obligated to pay mortgages, insurance, and repairs.
The moratorium began in March 2020 with the passage of the CARES Act, which only put a hold on rent payments on properties financed through federal programs. The CDC followed that up by extending the moratorium to all rental properties and extending the hold period repeatedly.
The moratorium finally ended on July 31 as a result of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the expiration date approached, many Democrats in Congress pressed for an extension of the moratorium by passing a new federal law. As it turned out, Congress took its annual August recess without acting to extend the moratorium. Since the expiration date, Democrats and the compliant media have gone into full blame mode, pointing fingers in every direction.
Congressional Democrats had made a run at the last minute for a legislative extension of the moratorium through October. Around 20 House Democrats expressed opposition to the length of the extension and because of the lack of federal oversight into the distribution of previously approved relief funds.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried making personal calls as late as July 30 in search of support for an extension, to no avail. Pelosi moved quickly to blame Republicans and urged local governments to provide the assistance that might be possible with existing relief funds.
Pelosi accurately noted that “not a single Republican would support this measure.” She also blamed the CDC for not extending the moratorium, notwithstanding the judicial rulings that required an act of Congress to keep it in place. She wrote on Twitter on August 1, “The CDC has the power to extend the eviction moratorium. As they double down on masks, why wouldn’t they extend the moratorium in light of delta variant?”