WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will not try to stop Congress from ending the treatment of COVID-19 as an emergency weeks earlier than he’d planned.
Despite his opposition to the faster time frame, Biden won’t veto a bill the Senate passed Wednesday ending the national emergency declaration first issued by former President Donald Trump in March of 2020.
The administration has been winding down authorities over the last few months after announcing in January that emergency powers would end May 11, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.
The congressional action won’t “impact our efforts to do so in an orderly way,” she added.
“We are in a different place and time than we were in January,” she said.
The emergency declaration freed up disaster money to fight the spread of the virus and reduced health regulations that could slow action. For example, hospitals were allowed to screen patients for COVID-19 off campus.
A separate public health emergency declared in late January 2020 is also set to end in May. Actions tied to the public health emergency are more expansive and include Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic policy that allows the federal government to rapidly expel migrants.
When House Republicans introduced legislation in January to immediately end both emergencies, Biden stopped short of issuing a veto threat. But the administration said an abrupt end to the emergencies would “create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.”
Some of those concerns were tied to the public health emergency termination which passed the House in January but has not been considered in the Senate.
The resolution ending the national emergency passed the Democrat-controlled Senate 68-23 Wednesday after it passed the GOP-led House by a vote of 229-197 in February.
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, who championed the effort in the Senate, said Biden no longer needs powers to act quickly in a pandemic.
“It’s time for Biden to do what he should have done months ago and end the COVID national emergency,” he tweeted.
The COVID emergency is ending: What it means for tests, vaccines, treatment
More: Here’s why Medicaid coverage and free COVID tests, treatments will soon change
Opinion: COVID-19 public health emergency may end, but need remains for lifesaving treatments
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: White House says Biden won’t veto bill to end COVID-19 emergency