Senate passes resolution to end federal COVID state of emergency

Senate lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday to end the federal COVID state of emergency, voting strictly along party lines 48-47 with Republicans voting in favor of the measure and Democrats against.

The resolution was introduced last month by Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican and co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida and Steve Daines of Montana.

The five non-voting senators were two Republicans — James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina — and three Democrats — Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein of California and Mark Kelly of Arizona.

Under the National Emergencies Act, Congress can discontinue a national state of emergency by voting on a disapproval resolution.

The national state of emergency, initially signed in March 2020 by former President Trump, was renewed by President Biden last year and scheduled to expire on March 1 of this year.

Mr. Biden, however, extended the national emergency declaration indefinitely.

Mr. Braun, during floor remarks, said the declaration was once necessary but it is now a “burden.”

“This federal state of emergency makes robust powers available to the president to react to a crisis,” he said, listing that those powers include forgiving student loans, imposing travel restrictions, and spending in neighborhoods deemed to be disproportionately affected by COVID.  

“When this emergency was first declared two years ago this week, it was needed. Things were uncertain. It was gratifying to see that in a bipartisan way in March of 2020, we came together. But we’ve learned so much since then. Now, it is a burden,” he said.

Mr. Braun concluded that “if we are going to live with this virus and move forward as a country, we must end the national emergency, and governors across the country should follow suit.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

Health, The New York Today

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