Senate Republicans are seeking to overturn the Biden administration’s order halting evictions for 60 days, building on lawsuits filed by real estate and landlord groups seeking to strike down the order in the courts.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) sent letters to the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday asking if the Congressional Review Act can be used to kill the new moratorium with a simple majority vote in the Senate.
The act gives Congress the ability to knock down rules implemented by federal agencies without the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster, and the senators expressed belief that the moratorium falls under its scope.
Toomey and Marshall, along with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), simultaneously introduced a joint resolution to overturn the moratorium under the CRA, which could be forced to a vote by 30 Senate Republicans.
While gathering 27 Senate Republicans to force a vote can be easily done, the senators would need at least one Democrat to help overturn the moratorium, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Democrat who most frequently works across the aisle, has expressed support for it.
Forbes has reached out to the White House for comment.
The moratorium, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, applies to U.S. counties with substantial or high levels of coronavirus transmission, which, according to the administration, covers 90% of renters. The White House initially expressed doubt that the moratorium could be legally extended, but, following significant pressure from progressive lawmakers, reversed that position, prompting an immediate slew of lawsuits.
“I think it is,” Biden said last week when asked if the extension is constitutional, adding that a group of constitutional scholars was “split” on the issue, but that the consensus of scholars he has consulted the most was, “‘We think you have the authority… but, in this court, who knows?’”