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US Senate Passes Bill to End Trump-Declared National Covid-19 Emergency

The US Senate has passed a bill to end the national Covid-19 emergency declared by Donald Trump.

The US Senate has passed a bipartisan bill to end the national Covid-19 emergency, declared by former President Donald Trump on March 13, 2020. The joint resolution, which had already cleared the House earlier this year, passed the Senate with a final vote of 68-23 on Wednesday.

While the President “strongly opposes” the bill, a White House official stated that the administration is already winding down the emergency by May 11, the date previously announced for the end of the authority.

The official stated that in the event of the measure’s passage in the Senate and subsequent submission to President Biden, he would sign it. Moreover, the administration would collaborate with relevant agencies to gradually terminate the national emergency, giving ample advance notice to potentially affected American citizens.

While the lack of an explicit veto threat left the possibility of Biden signing the measure a clear option, if not a likely one, his ultimate decision to sign the bill marked another moment where House Democrats have privately voiced frustration that the lack of clarity from the White House left lawmakers in a lurch.

In February, the bill was put to the vote on the House floor, but most Democrats voted against it, except 11 Democrats who sided with Republicans to endorse the measure. Nevertheless, using the Congressional Review Act, which permits a vote to overturn executive branch regulations without requiring the 60-vote threshold needed for most legislation, the bill passed in the Senate with a simple majority.

The vote was conducted following two successful Republican-led initiatives to nullify policies enacted by the Biden administration. A separate official from the White House mentioned that the Senate vote was taken after several weeks, during which the administration had been working to expedite its efforts to phase out the emergency, and only a little over a month before the termination of the emergency was scheduled to be announced.

Despite being the country worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the highest number of cases and fatalities, the US recorded 106,163,408 cases and 1,154,353 deaths. Nevertheless, the passage of this bill represents a significant stride towards ending the national emergency and eventually returning to normalcy.

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