Biden Signs Republican Bill To End Pandemic Emergency

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April 11, 2023

President Joe Biden on Monday signed a Republican-backed bill ending the U.S. national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a month earlier than the administration planned.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R., Ariz) in January, immediately terminated the coronavirus emergency, which gave the government sweeping powers to respond to the pandemic that began more than three years ago. Biden signaled in January that the emergency was set to end in May along with a separate public health emergency that will still remain in place until its scheduled lapse on May 11.

Biden opposed ending the emergency early but said he would not veto the legislation, which passed mostly along party lines in the House and with nearly two dozen Democrats in the Senate. The administration is rolling back powers previously granted through the emergency, such as mortgage forbearance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and not requiring home visits for determining care requirements through the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The separate public health emergency’s end will have greater ramification as it entails the end of Title 42, a Trump-era immigration rule that allowed border officials to turn migrants away because of the pandemic. Biden proposed a compromise replacement policy that bars migrants who first passed through another country, but immigration experts warn the proposal has loopholes that negate much of its desired impact, 

Biden’s ending of the pandemic emergency comes as Republicans launch investigations into the handling of the pandemic over the past three years. Former White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci will be a likely target of investigations after reports showed he touted a study attempting to disprove the lab leak theory on COVID's origins while concealing his role in commissioning it. The Biden Energy Department now says a lab leak was the likely origin of COVID.