The Biden administration announced on Monday that it would end the Covid-19 emergency declarations on May 11.
The Biden administration announced on Monday that it would end the Covid-19 emergency declarations on May 11, more than 3 years after then-President Donald Trump put in place emergency measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.
- The White House said the Covid-19 national emergency and Covid-19 public health emergency declarations first enacted by then-President Trump would be extended for a final time before being terminated on May 11.
- The administration’s move comes as House Republicans plan to bring resolutions that would end the Covid-19 emergency declarations up for a vote this week. The House will vote Tuesday on legislation sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky that would bring the public health emergency to an immediate end.
- The administration originally planned to announce the May 11 end date closer to Feb. 11, according to Politico. The White House accelerated the timeline “after it became clear that House Republicans planned to push measures aimed at ending the emergencies, and that some Democratic lawmakers might vote for them absent further clarity from the administration.”
- The national public health emergency has been renewed twelve times under two different presidents since it was first enacted by then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Jan. 31, 2020.
- The expiration of the public health emergency signals the end of Title 42, the pandemic-era public health order that gives federal immigration officials the authority to quickly “expel” migrants at the southern border.
- President Joe Biden’s plan was announced on the same day the government’s Covid watchdog disclosed more than $5.4 billion in Covid loans may have been awarded to businesses with “questionable” Social Security numbers.
- “Democrats were concerned about the optics of voting against Republicans winding down the public health emergency, absent an understanding of whether and how we intended to do so from the White House,” one White House aide told CNN. Pressure on House Democrats to vote for the Republicans’ resolution appears to have led the White House to act.
- The Washington Post wrote the end of the emergency declarations portends “a new phase of the pandemic response” as an average of more than 500 Americans still die from or with Covid-19 every day.
- “Rather than waiting until May 11, the Biden administration should join us now in immediately ending this declaration,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told the New York Times in a statement. “The days of the Biden administration being able to hide behind Covid to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on their unrelated, radical agenda are over.”
- Fox News noted the Covid-19 national emergency was scheduled to end on March 1, while the public health emergency was set to expire on April 11. The Office of Management and Budget announced Biden would renew both through May 11 before allowing them to expire simultaneously.
- The Wall Street Journal observed the end of the public health emergency will spell the end of Title 42, the pandemic tool that’s become the central legal justification behind Biden’s enforcement efforts on the southern border.
- According to Breitbart, several of the emergency declaration’s powers have already been effectively ended by Congress. In one notable example, Congress ended a pandemic-era rule preventing states from kicking people off Medicaid, which goes into effect after April 1.
© Dominic Moore, 2023