- Rep. Guthrie and other House Republicans introduced legislation on January 17, 2203, to end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).
- The “Pandemic is Over Act” states that the PHE “shall terminate on the date of the enactment of this Act.”
- According to Rep. Guthrie, the Act was released to prevent more delays by forcing the Biden Administration to finally divulge and execute a plan House Republican members did to unwind the PHE.
The Public Health Emergency (PHE) due to COVID-19 was first declared in January 2020, when the coronavirus began in the US. The PHE has been renewed every 90 days since then, allowing millions of Americans to continue receiving free tests, vaccines, and treatments.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently renewed the PHE from January 11 until April 11. This was the 12th and latest renewal of this emergency.
On the other side, on January 17, 2023, more than a dozen House Republicans, led by Rep. Brett Guthrie, introduced legislation to end the COVID-19 PHE. The legislation called the “Pandemic is Over Act” states that the PHE “shall terminate on the date of the enactment of this Act.”
“Pandemic is Over Act” strives to end the PHE
In a news release, Guthrie stated that “it is long overdue for President Biden to end the COVID-19 PHE and relinquish the emergency powers that he just renewed again”. In September 2022, President Biden declared the pandemic “over” due to a decline in case totals and deaths.
According to a Guthrie statement, “The COVID-19 pandemic is over. Despite President Biden admitting this in September, his administration just authorized the 12th extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
The Congressman added that President´s Biden inaction and lack of transparency in this situation is “unacceptable.” The Act was released to prevent more delays by forcing the Biden Administration to finally release and execute a plan that House Republican members did to unwind the PHE.
Congress previously introduced legislation to end the COVID-19 PHE. The Senate most recently voted 62-36 in November to lift the measure. Shortly after, the White House indicated Biden would veto the measure if it made it to its desk.
The AHA advocates continuing the Public Health Emergency
Opposite of ending the PHE, the American Hospital Association (AHA) had pressed the HHS to renew the COVID-19 emergency. The association also advocates making many PHE policies permanent through legislation, including rural care, hospital-at-home programs, and telehealth.
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