President Biden signed a Republican-led measure on Monday that ended the national Covid-19 emergency after more than three years.
The White House already had its own plans to wind down the emergency declaration on May 11, but the bill moved up that timeline by about a month.
Despite having strong objections to the bill earlier in the year, Biden announced in March he would not veto the legislation. It passed the Senate 68 to 23.
The legislation is a simple one-line measure saying that national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, ‘is hereby terminated.’
At the same time Biden signed the bill, the White House announced it is allocating $5 billion to create ‘next generation’ Covid-19 vaccines. The funding will be taken from money put aside by the Department of Health and Human Services for Covid tests and PPE.
Former President Trump first declared a national emergency that March to allow federal funding to be freed up for vaccines and testing centers.
It’s the third bill the president has signed into law since Republicans took the majority in the House – behind a GOP-led bill rescinding Washington, D.C.’s criminal justice reform and one that ordered the intelligence community to declassify information on Covid-19 origins.
The bill signed Monday was among the early bills the new House GOP put forward at the start of the year.
At the time, the administration warned the proposal would cause chaos.
More than 197 Democrats in the House voted against it.
‘An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system – for states, for hospitals and doctors´ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,’ the administration said in a formal statement of administrative policy.
It was the second time House Democrats voted against a bill to get behind what they thought the president’s position was only for him to reverse course. House Democrats roundly voted against the D.C. crime bill, then Biden said he wouldn’t veto it – giving Senate Democrats cover to vote for the bill.
Read More: Biden signs bill to terminate the national COVID emergency after THREE YEARS