March 3, 2022
Senate Republicans on Thursday passed a resolution to nix the coronavirus national public health emergency, their second win in as many days amid Democratic absences.
Senators voted 48-47 on the resolution, spearheaded by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), a day after they were also able to pass a measure to nix President Biden’s vaccine requirement for healthcare workers.
“I would ask him to listen to the people and end this declaration of emergency,” Marshall said in an appeal to Biden ahead of the vote.
Both votes were party line, but Republicans were able to exploit Democratic absences. Three Democratic senators were absent – Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Alex Padilla (Calif.) – compared to two absences for Republicans – Sens. James Inhofe (Okla.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) – effectively giving the GOP a majority in the chamber.
But the resolution, like the vaccine mandate vote, is going nowhere in the Democratic-controlled House. The administration also vowed ahead of the vote that if it reached Biden’s desk, he would veto it.
“Continuing to protect against COVID-19 and ensuring that our response remains nimble are top priorities of this Administration. Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes Senate Joint Resolution 38, which would terminate the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, and unnecessarily and abruptly curtail the ability of the Administration to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement.
Then-President Trump declared the national emergency in March 2020. Biden announced last month that he was extending the declaration, saying that he needed to be able to respond to the coronavirus with the “full capacity” of the administration.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Marshall of trying to “handicap” Biden’s ability to respond to the coronavirus.
“This proposal to hinder our COVID preparedness is as damaging and risky as it is unnecessary and it should be voted down. It is going nowhere if it passes,” Schumer said.