Senate passes resolution to end national emergency due to covid

Cliff Owen

Associated Press file photo

Senator Roger Marshall’s resolution to end the national emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic passed the Senate 62-36 on Tuesday, garnering bipartisan support in an effort that would effectively augment the plan to cancel the President Joe Biden’s student loan debt.

This is the second time that Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, has managed to get such a resolution passed by the Senate. The previous version, adopted in March, was never voted on in the House. He must pass through both chambers to reach the president’s office.

In a speech to the Senate on Tuesday, Marshall said the national emergency has been in place for too long and is being used to justify efforts to stem the spread of the virus he opposes, such as requiring members of the military to getting vaccinated and the federal government. mask mandates.

“Congress must take responsible action to curb this massive expansion of government and restore basic rights to Americans by ending the COVID-19 national emergency declaration,” Marshall said. “As for the elements of the pandemic response that work and are necessary, let’s codify them into law.”

Twelve Democratic senators and Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucus with Democrats, voted to support the resolution. In March, the previous version of the resolution had only Republican support, but there were not enough Democrats in the Senate chamber to defeat the measure due to absences.

Ending the resolution would have the broader effect of stopping a Biden administration plan to write off up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some Americans. The administration’s plan hinges on a law passed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that gives it more power over the country’s student loan program in times of national emergency.

The Biden administration’s plan has been challenged by several conservative states, including attorneys general Derek Schmidt in Kansas and Eric Schmitt in Missouri. Schmitt was elected to the US Senate last week.

Biden’s administration has said it would veto Marshall’s resolution if it also passes the House. He issued a statement late Tuesday opposing the resolution, saying it would prevent the government from responding to new strains of the virus.

“Preserving our ability to respond is more important than ever as we head into winter, when respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 typically spread more easily,” the statement said. “Boosted by the ongoing national emergency declaration, the federal response to COVID-19 continues to save lives, improve health outcomes, and support the U.S. economy.”

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Daniel Desrochers covers Washington, DC for the Kansas City Star. He previously covered politics and government for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky and the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.

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