WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives adjourned late Friday without extending a government moratorium on residential evictions that has been in place for 11 months set to expire on Saturday -- a decision that could put millions at risk of being forced out of their homes.
House Democratic leaders, lacking sufficient support, did not put the issue to a vote and instead unsuccessfully made a last-minute bid to win unanimous consent to extend the moratorium until Oct. 18 but that was blocked by Republican Representative Patrick McHenry.
The effort's failure means it all but certain the ban will expire late Saturday.
On Thursday, amid a rise in coronavirus infections due to the Delta variant, President Joe Biden asked Congress to extend the moratorium in line with a Supreme Court opinion last month that suggested a legislative approval was required. He also made clear his administration would not extend it again without congressional approval.
House Democratic leaders said in a joint statement after the failed effort that Republicans would not support the extension.
"This is an urgent matter that requires all of our efforts to resolve and demands that politics are put aside to help our fellow Americans avoid losing their homes," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders said. "No American family should have to be kicked out of their home because of the pandemic and the economic damage it has inflicted."
Some lawmakers criticized the White House for not publicly calling earlier for an extension. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last month it would not extend the eviction moratorium past July 31. The CDC did not comment on Friday.
Pelosi noted that out of $46.5 billion in rental relief approved by Congress, "only $3 billion has been distributed to renters" in arguing why the ban should be extended.
More than 15 million people live in households that are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.
Those 6.5 million households collectively owe more than $20 billion to their landlords.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to leave in place the CDC's ban on residential evictions imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness during the pandemic.
"In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31," wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was one of five justices who voted to leave the moratorium in place.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre earlier on Friday reiterated the administration's belief the CDC cannot extend the moratorium on its own based on the Supreme Court's ruling and had backed Pelosi's proposal.
Some states have chosen to extend eviction moratoriums beyond July 31, like New York, whose moratorium extends through Aug. 31.
This week, the National Apartment Association, with 82,600 members that collectively manage more than 9.7 million units, sued the U.S. government seeking billions in unpaid rent.
(Reporting by David ; Editing by Dan Grebler and Aurora Ellis)