Gosar Introduces Joint Resolution to Terminate the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Representative Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), along with Representatives Matt Rosendale (MT at-large), Thomas Massie (KY-4), Chip Roy (TX-21), Ralph Norman (SC-5), Brian Mast (FL-18) and Randy Weber (TX-14) introduced a joint resolution to terminate the COVID-19 emergency declared under the National Emergencies Act (NEA). After over a year of living under an emergency declaration with Congress failing to do its due diligence to decide if the emergency should continue, this resolution will force Congress to debate and vote on termination.

Emergency powers were created to give the executive branch flexibility to respond to a range of issues our nation may face. The NEA, like all other emergency powers, adheres to a system of checks and balances by requiring that Congress meet every six months to consider whether the emergency should be terminated. Unfortunately, Congress has been asleep at the wheel, failing to meet and consider the merit of granting the executive power it normally would not have.

“Over a year later, with cases falling, vaccine rates rising, and states reopening, it is prudent for Congress to consider the merit of the emergency continuation. I have always said, good process, makes good policy, which makes good politics. Ensuring Congress adheres to good process is the foundation for an effective government, and I am proud to introduce this resolution to restore Congressional role in emergency powers” said Rep. Paul Gosar.

"Too often, government policy and basic reality don't align.  The vaccine is here, it is available, and the emergency is over, but on paper, the emergency continues.  It's time for the Congress to step up as a equal branch of government, make the paper match up with the facts, and vote formally to end the emergency powers that have impeded the freedoms of so many Americans in the name of fighting the pandemic" said Rep. Matt Rosendale.  

“The National Emergencies Act was never intended to give the President endless and unlimited authority over Americans’ lives.  There are times and places for emergency declarations, but the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak was far from the COVID-19 pandemic we see in the United States today.  It is unacceptable for President Biden to continue to extend this emergency in order to increase his own power over the American people – crushing businesses, keeping kids from school, instituting mandates and continuing to fear monger.  It is time for Congress to step in to end this National Emergency” said Rep. Chip Roy.

The NEA was passed in 1974 to reign in presidential emergency powers which are activated when a formal emergency is declared. Congress must enforce checks and balances on these unique powers by determining whether or not to terminate the emergency six months after it is declared, and every six months after that. Over a year later, Congress still has not met to consider whether the COVID-19 emergency should continue.

This is because Congress has lazily interpreted the law to mean that if no member motions to terminate the emergency, then there is no opposition to it. This blatantly ignores good process, keeping representatives from debating and voting on the merits of continuing the emergency and the unusual powers it gives the President.

COVID cases are down and states are reopening, meaning it is responsible process for representatives to debate and vote on the merits of extending these emergency powers. This debate needs to happen to ensure Congress is restoring its role in national emergencies and bringing the voice of the American people to the national COVID-19 debate. 

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