Biden signs bill ending Covid national emergency

President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a Republican-backed resolution that immediately terminates the coronavirus national emergency first declared in March 2020.

The measure ends the national emergency a month earlier than the Biden administration had planned. A separate public health emergency tied to Covid will remain until May 11.

Biden had signaled his opposition to ending the national emergency but said he wouldn’t veto the legislation.

The Senate passed the measure 68-23 at the end of March, with nearly two dozen Democrats supporting it.

The House passed the legislation, introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., in late January in a 220-210 vote along party lines.

The vote to end the national emergency before May has caused the administration to wind down some of its emergency programs more quickly over the past few months and notify those affected by the change, a senior administration official said.

Among the affected programs are mortgage forbearance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and relaxed Veteran Affairs Department requirements for home visits to evaluate eligibility for caregiver assistance, the official said. An end to the public health emergency next month is expected to have a broader impact on policies like the Trump-era immigration program known as Title 42, the official added.

Since he took office, Biden has come under harsh criticism from Republicans over his administration's Covid response, particularly over vaccination and mask requirements.

“House Republicans are keeping our Commitment to America,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted earlier Monday, referring to a list of Republican priorities that includes removing the national emergency and ending the military vaccination mandate.

Congress passed a military policy bill in December directing the Defense Department to lift a Covid vaccination mandate for service members.

House Republicans have also probed the origins of the coronavirus and requested documents from top Biden officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who oversaw the virus response.

CORRECTION (April 10, 2023, 10 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Kevin McCarthy’s congressional role. He is the House speaker, not the minority leader.

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