Washington Watch

Biden: After three-plus years, COVID emergency to end in May

Washington lawmakers had lost their patience with the ongoing, regularly extended COVID emergency

With lawmakers in Congress increasingly impatient with America’s three-year-long COVID-19 emergency, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the emergency declaration once it expires May 11.

The emergency declaration has gone on for three years, across two presidencies, after being issued by then-President Donald Trump in March 2020. It will last three years and two months by the end.

In November, 62 Senators voted in favor of terminating the COVID emergency. Biden said he would veto any such effort, and the House never acted.

But the new U.S. House, under Republican control, is expected to vote to terminate the emergency this week. On Jan. 17, Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Kentucky, submitted the “Pandemic is Over Act.” The bill, if signed into law, would end the COVID emergency immediately.

Though the November vote took place in the 117th Congress and the House vote would take place in the 118th, together, they can be read as an insistence from lawmakers that America move on from emergency status.

Biden’s willingness to end the emergency can be read as agreement.

An unnamed senior administration official explained to Politico why Biden came around on ending the emergency declaration.

“This decision is based on what is best for the health of our country at this time,” the senior official told Politico. “We’re in a pretty good place in the pandemic, we’ve come through the winter, cases are down dramatically from where they were the past two winters.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.