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Op-Ed: It Is Time to End the Pandemic Emergency

Why does Joe Biden continue to demand the national emergency be extended?

The American Conservative
Published January 19, 2023

“The pandemic is over” is a quote you might associate with a Republican official, but it was emphatically declared by Joe Biden on 60 Minutes last September. President Biden and I don’t agree on many things, but in this rare instance I could not agree more. By any measure, the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States has ended.


That is why I once again recently offered legislation to officially end the Covid-19 national emergency and make good on this sentiment shared across the country. The pandemic is over. It is the same resolution I introduced during the 117th congressional session, which was ignored by Nancy Pelosi. (Well, not so much ignored, rather then-Speaker Pelosi purposely changed the rules of the House to prevent my resolution from being considered.)


The National Emergencies Act (NEA) was passed in 1974 to reign in presidential emergency powers that are activated when a formal emergency is declared. On March 13, 2020, President Trump rightfully declared a national emergency concerning Covid-19. Emergency powers were created to give the executive branch flexibility to respond to a range of crises facing the United States. 


Today, under the Covid-19 national emergency declaration, more than 120 emergency statutory powers continue to be available to President Biden, including the power to draft Americans without consent, barricade the United States Capitol, and place the Public Health Service under military control. Joe Biden even used the national emergency powers to “justify” his bogus student loan forgiveness scheme claiming the Covid-19 pandemic created a hardship that made it difficult to repay college loans. Thankfully, the courts have ruled Joe Biden’s student loan “forgiveness” plot unconstitutional, but not before his illegal abuse of the emergency declarations powers scored some political points just weeks before past November’s midterm elections. 


Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have since repeatedly blocked debate about the merits of the extended declaration, which is required by law. A provision in the NEA requires Congress to review termination of national emergencies, stating that after six months, and every six months after the emergency continues, Congress must meet to consider a resolution of termination. Sadly, rather than debate and vote on terminating the emergency declaration, Speaker Pelosi changed the rules of the entire House of Representatives on more than one occasion to prevent this from happening, thus handicapping Congress’s ability to perform its most basic Constitutional duty: checking the powers of the executive branch. As a result, Joe Biden has extended the Covid-19 national emergency through February 2023. 


Emergency declarations are difficult for a free country. Our government must be able to act in a manner to defend citizens from dire emergencies while ensuring it does not accumulate unconstitutional powers that threaten our liberties. To ensure the federal government is responding to legitimate emergencies and not using these extraordinary powers for everyday governance, the NEA outlines a process where the president can formally declare and respond to an emergency with temporary statutory powers while Congress is given the mandate to actively oversee executive action. 


President Trump declared a national emergency in March 2020 and nearly three years later the declaration remains, apparently in perpetuity. Unfortunately, up to now, there has been zero congressional oversight, even though federal law requires consideration of its termination. By any measure, the pandemic in the United States has ended and most Americans have returned to a pre-pandemic normalcy. So why does Joe Biden continue to demand the Covid-19 national emergency be extended? The answer is simple, to force Americans to live under extreme measures that deprive us of our freedoms.


President Biden’s unwillingness to let go of power is the mark of a tyrant and Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to provide cover make her complicit in this scheme. Thankfully, with a new Republican majority and improved House rules, members of Congress and the millions of Americans they represent will be able to weigh in on the merit of continued special government authorities. 


Last year, President Biden declared “the pandemic is over.” Cases are down, and America has opened back up. That hardly sounds like a country under a national emergency, which is why I am calling on my colleagues and President Joe Biden to reverse course and move to give the American people back their say in government. The Senate has now twice passed a companion joint resolution to my legislation, the second consideration garnering 61 “yes” votes, showing this action has bipartisan support from a dozen Democrat senators. I feel confident, now that Republicans are in charge, that my resolution will soon be considered on the House floor.