WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate voted on a resolution to end the federal COVID state of emergency. It passed by a vote of 48-47.
Under the National Emergencies Act, Congress can eliminate a national state of emergency by voting on a disapproval resolution.
The national state of emergency, first signed in March 2020, was extended by President Biden last year and was set to expire on March 1, 2022. President Biden in February extended the national emergency declaration indefinitely.
Senator Braun spoke on the Senate floor in favor of Senator Roger Marshall’s resolution to end the federal state of emergency, and called on Governors across the country who have not taken steps to end their state-level states of emergency to do so as well.
Indiana’s public health emergency will expire tomorrow.
SENATOR BRAUN’S REMARKS:
In a Monmouth poll in January, respondents were asked if they agreed with this statement: “COVID is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.”
70 percent said they agreed, including half of Democrats.
Vaccinations and natural immunity mean that a large majority of the country has protection from hospitalization, serious illness, or death from COVID.
As therapeutics continue to be improved, it is clear that most Americans are right: COVID is here to stay, and we need to adapt to live with it and get on with our lives. President Biden recently extended the federal state of emergency under the National Emergencies Act indefinitely.
I’d like to point out that he’s not alone there, as many Governors have extended their states of emergency as well.
This federal state of emergency makes robust powers available to the President to react to a crisis.
Those powers include forgiving student loans, imposing travel restrictions, and capital investments in neighborhoods deemed to be disproportionally 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.
So much has changed. In a classroom in Las Vegas, you saw the video where it was announced that a mask mandate in the classroom was lifted. It looked like they won a state championship.
Congress has the responsibility to vote on whether to approve these emergency declarations, as we will today.
Every state and community is easing COVID restrictions. Many have eliminated them entirely.
Keeping this federal declaration sends a message that we are not adapting to live with COVID, but living in a constant state of emergency with no clear end.
It’s past time for the President, and Governors across the country, to give up the extra powers granted to them under COVID emergency declarations.
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.