Millions of Americans faced possible eviction without a moratorium in place.
Tucker Carlson claimed on Wednesday that the Biden administration's temporary moratorium on evicting renters who are unable to keep current in their housing payments means that "private property no longer exists."
On his Fox News show "Tucker Carlson Tonight," the right-wing host attacked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky over a temporary order the agency issued on Tuesday.
The 19-page order sets the expiration date of the moratorium at Oct. 3, subject to the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19. In a section on applicability, it specifically states:
This Order applies in U.S. counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 as defined by CDC, as of August 3, 2021. ... If a U.S. county that is covered by this Order no longer experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission for 14 consecutive days, then this Order will no longer apply in that county, unless and until the county again experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission while this Order is in effect.
This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging and collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.
Despite this, Carlson railed against the order, arguing that representative democracy in America is "now over" and that "Rochelle Walensky now makes our laws."
Walensky announced today that she has decided to nationalize America's rental properties, millions and millions of them, from Maine to California. Tenants are no longer required to pay their rent. Property owners cannot evict them under any circumstances. Making someone pay to live on your property is now a federal crime. Try it, and you can wind up in prison, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
It's hard to overstate what a momentous change this is. It means, among other things, that private property no longer exists in the United States. You thought you owned your home. Not anymore. Rochelle Walensky does.
This is completely false.
The Biden administration ordered the moratorium when millions who were not able to work or had their income decreased during the pandemic were facing eviction. While the Supreme Court has indicated that it may rule against the executive branch enacting moratoriums, the Biden administration made clear the temporary measure was enacted with an eye toward encouraging Congress to put moratoriums in place.
At a White House press briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Jen Psaki said, "We don't control the courts; we don't know what they will do. We are all aware of the Supreme Court decision at the end of June and what was outlined in their decision at the end of June. This is also going to be a temporary — temporary solution regardless, and a longer-term solution will require legislative action."
President Biden "wants renters to be able to stay in their home, and that's why we took this step over the last few days," Psaki said.
Another of Carlson's claims was that landlords remain on the hook for mortgages owed to banks, and that there is no moratorium on mortgages because "the banks are huge Democratic donors and they're getting the treatment that they paid for."
But under the American Rescue Plan Act that was passed in March, Congress authorized $21.55 billion that was sent to states to prop up existing rental assistance programs and provide renters funds with which to pay some of their obligations to landlords.
Echoing Carlson, Republicans in Congress have also attacked the Biden administration's extension of the eviction moratorium.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO) described the action as "unconstitutional" and an attempt to "circumvent Congress." Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ) said it was "illegal." Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) described the effort to help renters as "an authoritarian attack on our Constitution and our Republic."
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) said, "This last-minute, unlawful eviction moratorium is another power grab by the White House for more command and control over the economy and our lives."
Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) tweeted, "Like his Democrat predecessor,@POTUS Biden is running a lawless administration. Open borders, Big Tech collusion, flouting the Constitution and ignoring SCOTUS. This is NOT how you heal and unify America."
Sen. John Cornyn (TX) tweeted, "Better to get the $46 billion Congress has already spent to rent payers than to take an action POTUS knows is unlawful."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.