This week, the House of Representatives will take up a slew of legislation premised on one basic and indisputable assumption: The Covid-19-induced public-health emergency (PHE) is over, so it’s time for the government to return to normal.
Although the threat posed by the pandemic has really been over for at least a year, the Biden administration has maintained the emergency status to serve its own political interests. The House’s planned action may have caused the Biden administration to acknowledge reality with a statement yesterday that it would end the national and public-health emergencies on May 11. While separate, the two emergency declarations afford the federal government increased powers and spending capabilities.
By making this announcement, the Biden administration is explicitly acknowledging what many observers have known for some time: The public has resumed normal life. Covid-19 consistently ranks near bottom of Americans’ list of concerns. Americans are more worried about the economy, the deficit, the media, and poor leadership in government than they are about the coronavirus.
In threatening to veto the House legislation if it reaches his desk, President Biden says the emergencies should remain in place through mid-spring.