Senate Approves Resolution To End COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration – Health & Safety – United States – mondaq.com

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On November 15, the Senate approved a resolution to end the national
emergency concerning COVID-19 declared by the president on March
13, 2020. The resolution was approved by a bipartisan vote of
62–36, with 13 Democrats joining all present Republicans in
voting for the resolution.

While ending the national emergency is different than ending the
public health emergency (PHE), which is declared by the US
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the two are related,
as the PHE must be tied to another declaration. Should the national
emergency declaration end (as intended in this Senate resolution),
most current waivers would terminate. There are notable exceptions,
however, where other pieces of legislation have enacted additional
flexibility (including telehealth waivers), and where policy
changes in HHS rulemakings specified that policy changes are tied
to the PHE. Should the national declaration end but the PHE stand,
such policies would continue until the end of the PHE. Should both
the national emergency declaration and the PHE end, all waiver
authority would cease. Please see this +Insight for additional
information.

The COVID-19 PHE, which is extended in 90-day increments, was
most recently extended in mid-October, until mid-January
2023. The Biden administration has maintained a commitment to
provide 60 days’ advance notice of any plans to end the PHE,
and that 60-day mark recently passed with no indication that the
PHE will end in mid-January. This indicates that the PHE is likely
to be extended at least once more, through mid-April 2023.

Senate passage of this resolution will not have a tangible
impact, as it is unlikely to be taken up by the
Democratic-controlled House this year, and the president has
threatened to veto it. However, the vote in the Senate demonstrates “pandemic fatigue” as well as significant bipartisan
support for ending COVID-19 declarations, which suggests that the
next presumed PHE extension through mid-April 2023 could be the
last.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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