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Biden won't veto GOP measure terminating the Covid national emergency

The White House announced its opposition to the measure in January, but the administration had already planned to roll back the national emergency in May.
Biden doesn't plan to veto resolution terminating Covid national emergency
President Joe Biden will sign a bill to repeal the Covid national emergency, a White House official confirmed.Carolyn Kaster / AP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden doesn't plan to veto a GOP-sponsored resolution that would terminate the Covid emergency declared in 2020, two sources told NBC News.

The Senate passed the Republican-sponsored resolution in a 68-23 vote Wednesday. Nearly two dozen Democrats and independents who caucus with them voted with Republicans in favor of the resolution to roll back the emergency declaration. The resolution needed only a simple majority to pass.

The measure would terminate the national emergency that former President Donald Trump declared in March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

The resolution now goes to Biden's desk for his signature. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told members of his caucus that Biden does not plan to veto the measure, according to a Senate Democratic source, and a White House official confirmed as well that Biden would sign the legislation.

The House passed the legislation in January in a 220-210 vote along party lines.

The White House source said that Biden "strongly opposes" the measure, but indicated that Biden would sign it because the administration was already planning to end the Covid national emergency and public health emergency on May 11.

The official said that "the administration will continue working with agencies to wind down the national emergency with as much notice as possible to Americans who could potentially be impacted."

Ahead of the House vote in January, the White House voiced its opposition to the resolution in a formal notice, saying it would be a "grave disservice to the American people," but stopped short of threatening a presidential veto.

In the notice, the White House announced its intent to end the national emergency in May, but opposed the GOP's timeline, saying that "an abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system."

"Due to this uncertainty, tens of millions of Americans could be at risk of abruptly losing their health insurance, and states could be at risk of losing billions of dollars in funding," the White House said at the time. "Additionally, hospitals and nursing homes that have relied on flexibilities enabled by the emergency declarations will be plunged into chaos without adequate time to retrain staff and establish new billing processes, likely leading to disruptions in care and payment delays, and many facilities around the country will experience revenue losses."

This marks the second time in this Congress that Biden announced he planned to sign a Republican proposal that the White House had opposed. He recently signed a bill to repeal a controversial measure that would have made changes to Washington, D.C.'s criminal code.

CORRECTION (March 30, 2022, 4:50 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated how many Democrats supported the resolution to end the Covid emergency declaration. It was 21, not 20.