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House of Representatives Approves Bill to End Health Emergency

Cámara de Representantes aprueba proyecto para cesar emergencia sanitaria, EFE

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The House of Representatives, under Republican control, approved Tuesday a bill aimed at ending the health emergency declared by covid-19.

The legislation was approved by the House by 220 in favor and 210 against and must now continue its parliamentary process in the Senate, where the Democrats have 48 seats plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris; the Republicans hold another 49 seats and there are 3 progressive independents.

The text, promoted by Republican legislator Brett Guthrie, establishes that the country must terminate the emergency at the time of its enactment.

The White House Office of Management and Budget indicated Monday that the U.S. will no longer consider the Covid-19 pandemic a national emergency as of May 11, after which it will switch to treating Covid as an endemic disease.

The Biden administration explained that their plan is to extend through May the current national emergency and public health emergency declarations, enacted in 2020 by then-Republican President Donald Trump, and suspend both thereafter.

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The White House argued that this grace period will avoid the chaos and uncertainty in the healthcare system that would result if the Republican initiative that contemplates the immediate end of the declarations were to prosper.

Congress already determined in December that additional measures that were part of the emergency declaration, such as additional funding for states, would be dismantled bit by bit, but the conservatives’ initiative wants to nip them in the bud.