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CDC announces new deportation ban, despite threat from Supreme Court

The announcement comes after a days-long standoff with Congress in which President Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats, as well as progressives led by Representative Cori Bush of Missouri, waged an intense public campaign for urge the White House to act.

The new ban would give state and local programs more time to distribute rent relief and increase vaccination rates, the agency said. The moratorium is expected to affect 80% of counties and 90% of the U.S. population, according to Democrats familiar with the details.

Biden said on Tuesday he had sought constitution specialists to determine the legal authority of the CDC and “what could they do that is most likely to pass constitutionality.” The “big” of the scholarship under review by the White House said further CDC action would not be accepted by the courts, Biden said, adding that there were “key researchers” who said it could. do it.

The targeted moratorium comes after the White House insisted for days that the CDC did not have the power to act and that it was up to Congress to pass an extension. But the House left for a weeks-long recess on Friday after failing to pass an extension, with Pelosi and other top Democrats furious with the White House for putting this at their feet.

On Monday, the White House put the blame governors and mayors, claiming that the CDC found no legal authority to act even after Biden asked the agency on Sunday to explore all the tools at its disposal.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday linked the agency’s abrupt about-face to the increase in recent weeks of the highly transmissible variant Delta.

“The emergence of the delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are not vaccinated,” she said in a statement. “This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of gathering places where COVID-19 is spreading. “

Democrats had pushed for such a resolution.

“I don’t think the CDC can’t extend the moratorium on evictions, which it has done in the past!” Who will stop them? Who will penalize them? Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters tweeted Monday night. “There is no official decision saying they cannot extend this moratorium. Come on CDC – have a heart! Do it!”

Bush has drawn the nation’s attention for sleeping on the Capitol steps since the previous moratorium expired this weekend to protest the administration’s inaction as Pelosi publicly urged the White House to intervene.

Biden called Pelosi to inform him of the decision earlier on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the conversation. The White House has also warned progressive leaders on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi reiterated Tuesday morning during a private caucus call with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that it was up to the administration to find a way to extend the moratorium. But as the Delta variant rages on, House leaders have expressed concern about new protections against deportations beyond October 3.

“We still have a problem when we are told the Senate will not pass legislation, so we’ll have to see,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in an interview on Tuesday. “But obviously it’s a step forward by giving us some time to see whether or not further legislative measures are possible.”

Progressive Congressional Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Who has had several days of calls with senior administration officials over the past few days, praised the White House for “responding to the call. ‘urgency that we presented “.

But Jayapal had previously said in an interview that any ban on the CDC should be bolstered by congressional action.

“The House and Senate have yet to act if this is challenged in court,” she said. “It’s just a different situation than on June 29, when the Supreme Court wrote its opinion.”

Representative Barbara Lee (D-California) agreed.

“This is a short-term and a long-term strategy,” Lee said. “When the moratorium actually ends, there is absolutely no way we can be in the same place where we are now. … We need to get legislation passed in Congress, in the House in particular. “

Democratic lawmakers stepped up pressure on the Biden administration after House Democrats failed to organize votes to extend the ban following the White House announcement Thursday that it could not not extend it itself.

The White House blamed its initial refusal to extend the ban on a Supreme Court ruling in June that indicated a majority of justices believed the CDC overstepped its authority when it imposed the moratorium in September. The White House has been wary of future lawsuits which it believes could undermine the powers of the CDC to institute such a moratorium based on upcoming public health conditions.

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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