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Tipsheet

Dems in Disarray Over How National COVID Emergency Looks to Soon Finally Be Over

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Once again, President Joe Biden may be willing to get out of the way of Republican plans. As covered by the Associated Press, the president won't veto a bill that would end the COVID emergency. 

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Such notice came just in time with the Senate voting on Wednesday 68-23 in favor of H.J. Res. 7. Twenty-three Democrats as well as two Independents caucusing with them voted in favor, joining all voting Republicans. This happened as "Democrats quietly complained that the Biden administration had shifted its views," according to the Associated Press.

H.J. Res. 7 simply reads that the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, in response to COVID-19 "is hereby terminated."

There are larger issues at play, though, as highlighted by bill sponsor Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) in a statement for Townhall. "Enough is enough--Joe Biden must end this power grab that undermines Americans constitutional rights immediately," he said with original emphasis. His statement also highlighted how the party is not only united, but has had support from Democrats.

"Republicans have been united in ending this emergency declaration and the supersized government powers that go with it for over a year. In fact, we have had bipartisan support for almost six months. The pandemic is over. The president has only kept this authoritarian declaration in place to push his radical agenda and justify unconstitutional mandates and reckless spending that has added $3.7 trillion to our national debt," he added.

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Sen. Marshall has also sponsored other efforts to try to curb this overreach of authority. In December 2021, when voting to fund the government, Sens. Marshall and Mike Lee (R-UT) offered an amendment to defund the vaccine mandate and testing requirements, though it failed. 

Wednesday's Senate vote was hailed by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who sponsored the House version which passed on February 1 by a vote of 229-197, with 11 Democrats joining all Republicans. His press release stressed that this move was a long time coming, calling the emergency declaration "outdated and abusive." 

Additionally, Gosar reminded everyone just how much had been at stake with the amount of government controlling everyday American life in the name of the pandemic. 

"Today’s actions by the Senate helps to end the more than 120 presidential authorities provided under the emergency declaration and safeguard our country from any further abuses by Mr. Biden," Gosar said on Wednesday. 

"The National Emergencies Act is meant to provide a check against presidential exploitation by mandating congressional review. However, Nancy Pelosi willfully ignored the law and provided cover to Joe Biden when she was Speaker of the House by not once allowing a vote to end the COVID-19 national emergency declaration," he also pointed out. "One such abuse was Mr. Biden’s use of the national emergency declaration as the justification for his failed student loan forgiveness 'program.'"

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In addition to declaring the emergency over, ending such powers will have further ramifications, as Gosar also mentioned. "Ending the emergency powers will also open the door to allow Republicans in Congress the ability to claw back the billions of unspent dollars that Mr. Biden has moved around under the so-called guise of a pandemic and put towards strengthening Social Security," he said.

If Biden were not to not sign the bill, the national emergency would end on May 11, a date which was announced on January 30, as Spencer covered at the time. 

Such an end date, which came after the administration had repeatedly renewed the declaration for years, had come despite the president emphasizing during a "60 Minutes" interview last September that the "pandemic is over." 

Gosar's press release contained similar language. "The pandemic has long been over, and there is no reason to keep emergency powers for an emergency that has ended.  Our long national nightmare is over," he said. 

"Last September, Mr. Biden asserted 'the pandemic is over,' 'cases are down,' and America has opened back up. Yet, Joe Biden nevertheless extended the COVID-19 national emergency declaration simply to force Americans to live under extreme measures that deprive us of our freedoms," Gosar went on to say, referencing more directly Biden's comments from the interview. 

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This isn't the first Republican-led effort that Biden has not gotten in the way of. Earlier this month he signed the bill to repeal D.C.'s soft-on-crime bill, which 31 Democrats in the House and 31 in the Senate, along with two Independents caucusing with them, agreed to vote to repeal. The amount of House members may have been higher if the White House had communicated such a position sooner.

That this appears to be a pattern was highlighted by CNN on Friday morning. 

Members were even willing to go on the record calling out the administration, as Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) did. 

While Kildee said he agreed with the administration "most of the time," he also made clear that "none of that excuses the lack of clarity, or putting us in a position where we vote, and then there’s a change of heart. That’s very unhelpful." Spanberger called it "not great" and called on the White House to "just be very clear" on Biden's position. 

The report also highlighted how Republicans are taking advantage, as they very well should:

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Republicans are already seizing on the tough votes. The House GOP’s campaign arm has launched two rounds of campaign ads hammering vulnerable Democrats as “soft on crime” over their vote to uphold the DC crime legislation, including a new billboard ad launched this week targeting Spanberger and several other House Democrats. And the GOP’s campaign committee also sent out dozens of press releases spotlighting the Democrats who voted against the Covid resolution, painting them as “too extreme for Biden.”

Small though their majority may be in the House, and while Democrats may still control the Senate, Republicans are showing they can make progress when it comes to fulfilling promises and getting the job done. 

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