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Biden Admin Says COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Will End on May 11 Following Eighth Extension

'An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos,' said the Biden Admin

President Joe Biden extended the national emergency declaration for COVID-19, saying the federal government needs until May 11 to “get everything done.”

The president’s administration has denounced efforts from the legislative branch to terminate expanded powers enacted following the global outbreak of COVID-19 in March of 2020.

“We’ve extended it to May the 15th to make sure we get everything done. That’s all,” Biden told reporters outside of the White House on Jan. 31 before departing for a trip to New York City. Biden previously said that the pandemic was over during a September interview. 

His administration released a State of Administration Policy on Jan. 30 noting that, while the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations were set to expire on March 1 and April 11, the federal government intends to delay the termination date until May 11.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the Biden administration wrote. 

The administration says Americans who rely on Medicaid, which received additional funding because of the public health emergency, “could be at risk of abruptly losing their health insurance, and states could be at risk of losing billions of dollars in funding.” Additionally, the administration warned hospitals and nursing homes could experience staffing and billing disruptions and that veterans who use telehealth services would be “unable to access critical clinical services and medications.”

Terminating the two emergency powers would also end Title 42, which allows immigration and border protection services to expel migrants who illegally cross the border because of a health emergency. President Biden initially terminated the policy, which was later reinstated. The Supreme Court ruled in December of 2022 that the policy was legal and could remain in effect.

“The number of migrants crossing the border has been cut in half, approximately, since the Administration put in place a plan in early January to deter irregular migration from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti,” according to the Statement of Administration Policy. “The Administration supports an orderly, predictable wind-down of Title 42, with sufficient time to put alternative policies in place.”

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar introduced the House Joint Resolution 7 to terminate Biden’s COVID-19 national emergency powers on March 13. 

“Emergency powers were created to give the executive branch flexibility to respond to a range of crises facing the United States,” said Gosar on Jan. 11. “There is no ongoing COVID-19 emergency to justify the continuation of the national emergency declaration.  Cases are down and most Americans have returned to a pre-pandemic normalcy. This hardly sounds like a country under a national emergency.”

“The National Emergencies Act was never intended to give the President endless and unlimited authority over Americans’ lives,” said Congressman Chip Roy of Texas in a statement supporting Gosar’s effort. “It’s long past time to put an end to this outdated and unnecessary National Emergency once and for all.”

Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie introduced House Resolution 382 on Jan. 17 to terminate the public health emergency, which was declared on Jan. 31, 2020. The resolution passed on Jan. 31 with 220 for and 210 against. 

Exactly three years later to the day of the original PHE declaration, we are in a much better position to address COVID-19. We have proven therapeutics in addition to 95 percent of the population either being previously infected with COVID-19 or vaccinated,” said Guthrie while speaking from the House floor on Jan. 31. “It’s long overdue for President Biden to unwind the public health emergency. Despite the overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 is now endemic and that the pandemic is over, Secretary Becerra just renewed the PHE for a 12th time.”

Since President Biden took office, we have seen the pandemic used to justify the countless executive overreaches. The President has used the pandemic for one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates for health care workers, mask mandates, and eviction moratoriums,” he added. 

The national health emergency was first enacted by President Donald Trump. Biden has extended the declaration a total of eight times.

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