President Joe Biden signed legislation Monday to end the national emergency for Covid-19, the White House said, in a move that will not affect the end of the separate public health emergency scheduled for May 11.
A White House official downplayed the impact of the bill, saying the termination of the emergency “does not impact our ability to wind down authorities in an orderly way.”
The bill to end the national emergency cleared the Senate last month in a bipartisan 68-23 vote and passed the House earlier this year with 11 Democrats crossing party lines to vote for the joint resolution.
“Since Congress voted to terminate the National Emergency earlier than anticipated, the Administration has worked to expedite its wind down and provide as much notice as possible to potentially impacted individuals,” the official said, adding that the country is in a “different place” than it was in January.
The administration has been winding down authorities over the past few months, the official noted.
The official said that “to be clear, ending the National Emergency will not impact the planned wind-down of the Public Health Emergency on May 11” – which enabled the government to provide many Americans with Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines at no charge, as well as offer enhanced social safety net benefits, to help the nation cope with the pandemic and minimize its impact, as CNN previously reported.
“But since Congress moved to undo the National Emergency earlier than intended, we’ve been working with agencies to address the impacts of ending the declaration early,” the official said.
The White House had signaled strong opposition to the bill but said that ultimately, the president would sign it if it came across his desk. The White House had planned end to both emergencies by May 11.