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25 GOP Governors Call on Biden to End COVID Emergency Declaration

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Twenty-five Republican governors in a joint letter Monday called on President Joe Biden to end the COVID-19 national emergency.

In March 2020, then-President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency, citing the need to take action to confront the virus outbreak, including strengthening the strained health care system.

“It has been nearly three years since the federal government has declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the governors opened their letter to Biden.

“While the virus will be with us for some time, the emergency phase of the pandemic is behind us. We have come so far since the beginning of the pandemic — we now have the tools and information necessary to help protect our communities from COVID-19,” they continued.

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The state leaders pointed to Biden’s own pronouncement on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in September that “the pandemic is over.”

The governors further noted the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution in November by a vote of 61-37 calling for the national emergency to end.

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“We agree with both your statement and the Senate’s resolution — it is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal,” they contended.

The Republicans also called for the federal public health emergency to end.

In October, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the COVID health emergency an additional 90 days. It now extends through Jan. 11, according to CNBC.

“The emergency declaration gives federal agencies broad authority to expand certain programs without congressional approval,” the outlet reported.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, under HHS, dramatically expanded enrollment in Medicaid, public health insurance for low-income people, to a historic record of more than 89 million people. HHS also expanded telehealth services and gave hospitals flexibility in how they can deploy staff and beds when a surge of patients stresses capacity.”

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Given that no notice has been provided that the Biden administration is planning to end the public health emergency on Jan. 11, the governors are working under the assumption it will be extended another 90 days to April 2023. They asked the administration to bring the public health emergency to a close at that time.

The governors explained that the public health emergency is “negatively affecting states” by artificially growing those eligible for Medicaid and having no real mechanism to unenroll people who have returned to work and are covered by their employers’ health care plans. This problem alone is costing states hundreds of millions of dollars, they said.

The Republican leaders concluded, “We urge you to end the national emergency and the [public health emergency] in April and provide states notice of those intentions well in advance to allow us to adequately plan for the future.”

According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, about a dozen states (mostly with Democratic governors) still have their COVID-19 emergency orders in place.

A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.

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