(DCWatchdog.com) – President Joe Biden has announced he will officially end two emergency declarations related to COVID-19 on May 11, three years after they were first declared.
The announcement was made in a statement of administration policy from the Office of Management and Budget, which opposed Republican House bills calling for the immediate termination of the two national emergencies.
The White House pledged to wind down the pandemic-era declarations over the next 14 weeks, warning that ending the public health emergency and the COVID-19 national emergency immediately would have extensive consequences.
The two emergency orders will be extended one final time until May 11 to ensure an orderly wind-down, which the OMB says aligns with the Biden administration’s commitment to providing at least 60 days’ notice before termination of the public health emergency.
The extension of the emergency declarations does not impose any restrictions on individuals, schools, or businesses, such as mask or vaccine mandates.
The Biden administration also stated that the end of the public health emergency would lead to the termination of Title 42, which allows law enforcement authorities to send migrants back across the border swiftly.
The Supreme Court blocked a court-ordered winding down of Title 42 in December until it hears full oral arguments on the legal issues involved. The Biden administration claims it needs more time to put the necessary policies in place to deal with the influx of migrants that would come with the end of Title 42.
The move to end the national and public health emergency declarations would formally restructure the federal COVID-19 response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities.
It would also shift the development of vaccines and treatments away from the direct management of the federal government.
People with private insurance will have some out-of-pocket costs for vaccines, tests, and treatment once the emergency expires, while the uninsured will have to pay for those expenses in their entirety.
Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, the emergencies have been repeatedly extended. In September, Biden previously declared the COVID-19 pandemic “over” during an interview, which sparked a backlash from progressives and liberal Democrats.
What is your opinion? Do you believe it is time, or past time, to end the federal government’s emergency declarations related to COVID-19? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts and reactions by emailing [email protected]. Thank you.