Joe Biden has told Congress he is preparing to end the COVID-19 pandemic national emergency declaration by May 11th, over three years after it began.
Biden made the announcement on Monday, with the AP noting that both the public health emergency declaration, initially declared on January 31st 2020 by the Trump-era Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and the national emergency declaration, enacted by President Trump two months later in March, would be ended on May 11th.
Both emergency declarations are set to expire within a few months, but the Biden administration is preparing to extend them, just as they have done since they took office in January 2021, so they expire concurrently on the given May date.
Emergency powers given to Biden under the national emergency declaration would end, such as the ability to place health services under military control, along with shifting the responsibility for the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines away from the federal government.
Joe Biden tours a CDC facility with Dr. Anthony Fauci and NIH officials (NIH / Flickr)
“To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19,” said the administration. “They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.”
The decision from the Biden administration comes as House Republicans were just about to bring bills to the floor to end both the public health emergency declaration and national emergency declaration.
Rep. Brett Guthrie, who authored a bill to end the public health emergency declaration, said he hoped that the vote to do so would still proceed. “If for some reason they don’t do it on May the 11th, the vehicle is still there for Congress to take back its authority,” Guthrie said.
Rep. Paul Gosar introduced a resolution earlier this month, co-sponsored by Reps. Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, and others, to end the national emergency declaration, noting that Biden had declared in September that the pandemic was “over.”
“There is no ongoing COVID-19 emergency to justify the continuation of the national emergency declaration,” Gosar said earlier this month. “Cases are down and most Americans have returned to a pre-pandemic normalcy. This hardly sounds like a country under a national emergency.”
Responding the news, Gosar tweeted on Monday evening that there was no “reason to wait” for May 11th to end the declarations. “I say let’s end it right now,” he said. “There is no reason to trust the Biden regime,” Gosar continued, adding that the vote on Wednesday on the resolution would be going ahead regardless.
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.