The Republican lawmaker of Kansas introduced on Thursday a privileged resolution that calls for a vote to end the undergoing emergency declaration over the global pandemic, which has been in place since being firstly announced by then-President Donald Trump in March 2020.
GOP lawmakers in the House previously attempted in March to end the state of emergency yet failed to scrap the declaration.
The latest move came after Biden made the comments during CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” the president said.
“Since President Biden used his appearance on 60 Minutes to declare COVID is over, he must immediately terminate the COVID-19 national emergency declaration and wind down other emergency authorities that his Administration continues to force us to live under,” Marshall said in a Sept. 22 statement.
“The American people are fatigued and yearning to operate outside of the confines of supersized government. They long for their God-given freedoms, and for leaders to take their side,” said Marshall. “It’s high time for Joe Biden and his Administration to stop using COVID to implement their partisan political agenda and focus on the surge in crime and the fentanyl epidemic.”
The ongoing use of the emergency declaration has allowed the administration to leverage Congress into steer additional funds to address the pandemic, provides a legal basis for suspending payment interest and deadlines for student loans, and shut down ports of entry.
Biden’s off-the-cuff comment has surprised his health officials and other Democrat colleagues, with White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci attempting to reshape the president’s narrative, warning that “people should not be cavalier that we’re out of the woods.”
Earlier this month, the Biden administration asked Congress for more than $22 billion in additional COVID-19 funding to support research on vaccines, testing, preparations, and treatment. Republicans argued that the additional relief funding isn’t necessary given Biden’s comment. Previously, GOP lawmakers signaled they aren’t willing to back the White House’s latest request.
Moreover, the president announced in August he would wipe out the federal student loan balances of millions of people with up to $20,000 in debt per recipient, using authority under the 2003 HEROES Act that allows the government to waive or modify student loans during national emergencies such as a war.
The executive action means that one-time forgiveness of $10,000 per borrower will cost about $300 billion for taxpayers, or $330 billion if the program continues over the next decade, according to a budget estimate from economists at Penn Wharton. In addition, eliminating the income limit threshold would lead to a 10-year cost of $344 billion.
On Monday, demonstrators suffering from long-term COVID-19 symptoms, such as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, protested outside the White House, calling on Biden to not end the pandemic, The Hill reported.
Officials from the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.