I see that, after the Legislature failed to pass an extension on the eviction moratorium, and after Our Only President indicated (correctly) that he had no legal authority to extend it without Legislative action, he has extended it anyway. This is not good news.
Laws should be made in the legislature, not the executive. From a structural point of view it’s extremely troubling for the President to institute even good policy without the legislature.
The real problem is that legislators who know that they will not have to answer to constituents either for a vote on the policy (yea or nay) or for the consequences of the policy working or failing may let the President legislate. This happened with foreign affairs over my lifetime—the real problem with the War Powers Act was that legislators didn’t want to be responsible either for military actions or for the lack of them, and so just let the President do whatever seemed right to the people in the Executive. For decades. If Republican legislators think that homes should stand empty and people should sleep in their cars or on the streets, then they should have to be re-elected on the consequences of that. If people are willing to keep voting for those legislators because they want those policies, that’s the policy we should get. There is nobody to save ourselves from ourselves but us—Joe Biden, bless him, isn’t king.
Let me be clear: this is, on the whole, a good policy. On the whole, it’s probably better that the Administration implement it today and save a bunch of people from being evicted than not. But it’s also true that they honestly have no authority to do it, and ‘it’s a good policy’ does not give them the authority. There are lots of good policies that can’t pass the Congress, mostly because enough people disagree about the policy being good, as evidenced by their representatives’ votes (and their votes for those representatives). The ‘crisis’ that has been more than a year in coming and shows no sign of ending soon is clearly an excuse, not an emergency.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,