[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 20 (Tuesday, January 31, 2023)]
[Pages H531-H539]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          PANDEMIC IS OVER ACT

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 75, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 382) to terminate the public health emergency declared 
with respect to COVID-19, and ask for its immediate consideration in 
the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaTurner). Pursuant to House Resolution 
75, the bill is considered read.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 382

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Pandemic is Over Act''.


       The public health emergency declared by the Secretary 
     pursuant to section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 
     U.S.C. 247d) on January 31, 2020, entitled ``Determination 
     that a Public Health Emergency Exists Nationwide as the 
     Result of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus'' (and any renewal 
     thereof) shall terminate on the date of the enactment of this 

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The bill shall be debatable for 1 hour 
equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member 
of the Committee on Energy and Commerce or their respective designees.
  The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) and the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Pallone) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie).

                             General Leave

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on the 
legislation and to insert extraneous material on H.R. 382.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Kentucky?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to push for immediate and overwhelming 
passage of my legislation, H.R. 382, the Pandemic is Over Act.
  President Biden and I both agree that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. 
In fact, on the eve of the Pandemic is Over Act going on the House 
floor, President Biden finally announced that he is going to end the 
COVID-19 emergency declarations. I am glad that my bill finally forced 
the Biden administration to act.
  However, President Biden has taken too long to act on his statement 
last September that the pandemic is over, which is why I am moving 
forward with my bill to end the COVID-19 public health emergency and 
finally restore checks and balances between Congress and the executive 
  There was a time and place for the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
On this day 3 years ago, then-Department of Health and Human Services 
Secretary Azar first invoked the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  The COVID-19 public health emergency was used at the beginning of the 
pandemic to establish Operation Warp Speed and provide for CMS waivers 
that led to millions of seniors receiving critical healthcare services 
through mediums such as telehealth and removing various forms of red 
tape getting in the way of healthcare providers' ability to care for 
their patients.
  Now, exactly 3 years later to the day of the original disaster public 
health emergency declaration, we are in a much better position to 
address COVID-19. We have proven therapeutics in addition to 95 percent 
of the population either being previously infected with COVID-19 or 
vaccinated. A senior administration official even stated, ``We are in a 
pretty good place in the pandemic. . . . Cases are down dramatically 
from where they were the past two winters,'' according to Politico 
  It is long overdue for President Biden to unwind the public health 
emergency. Despite overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 is now endemic 
and that

[[Page H532]]

the pandemic is over, Secretary Becerra just renewed the public health 
emergency for a twelfth time.
  The Pandemic is Over Act sends a loud and clear message to President 
Biden: The American people are tired of living in a perpetual state of 
emergency, and it is long overdue for Congress to take back the 
authorities granted under Article I of the Constitution.
  The Pandemic is Over Act would immediately terminate the COVID-19 
public health emergency. Nothing in my bill ends title 42, despite the 
administration stating that it will. Let me repeat: Nothing in this 
bill ends title 42.
  The Biden administration alone controls title 42. That statute was 
written in 1944 before the authority of the public health emergency 
even existed. If the Biden administration chooses to end title 42 when 
the public health emergency ends without working with us to secure the 
border, then that is just another one of his failures to add to the 
  To be clear, we support the ability to declare a public health 
emergency to address clear and serious public health threats. 
Maintaining these regulatory flexibilities during a public health 
emergency is crucial, but these authorities should only be used for 
limited periods of time based upon the particular circumstances and 
prevalence or immediacy of the public health threat.
  Now, it is time to rescind the President's emergency powers, and 
Congress can address the present and future needs that may arise with 
  Since President Biden took office, we have seen the pandemic used to 
justify countless executive overreaches. The President has used the 
pandemic for one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, 
mask mandates, and eviction moratoriums.
  While ending the COVID-19 public health emergency will not relinquish 
all the President's power that has been used to make those decisions, 
it does make it more difficult to justify bypassing Congress to enact 
his policies.

  Finally, I want to address the arguments about our unwinding the 
public health emergency too quickly. Democrats had unified control and 
could have extended, or the administration could have undertaken 
rulemaking to unwind, the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  Congress is already working. We need to work together on extending a 
number of provisions tied to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  Where are their bills that would extend or unwind these things? Where 
was the hearing on this last Congress if this was such an issue?
  Mr. Speaker, the pandemic is over. I urge my colleagues to support 
H.R. 382, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 382, which would 
abruptly and irresponsibly end the COVID-19 public health emergency 
virtually overnight. It would require this action immediately without 
providing patients, hospitals, providers, and States sufficient notice 
to safely unwind numerous authorities, programs, and flexibilities that 
have been essential to protecting Americans throughout the pandemic.
  Last night, the Biden administration announced that the COVID-19 
public health emergency is planned to be ended on May 11, 2023. This 
timeline provides healthcare providers and patients with the certainty 
and predictability needed to responsibly wind down the COVID-19 
response programs.
  As a result of these successful programs, as well as the historic 
investments made by Congress, millions of Americans have received free 
vaccines and tests, safe access to their doctors through telehealth 
appointments, and continuous healthcare coverage through programs such 
as Medicaid and CHIP.

                              {time}  1415

  Unfortunately, Republicans are needlessly rushing forward today with 
a reckless plan that would jeopardize the health of millions of 
Americans by immediately ceasing these important response programs 
without advanced preparations.
  Mr. Speaker, a pandemic of this magnitude cannot be unwound 
overnight. We cannot flip a switch and make COVID-19 end with the snap 
of a finger. If H.R. 382 becomes law, it would have disastrous 
consequences. It would disrupt insurance coverage for millions of 
vulnerable Americans by allowing States to immediately start kicking 
vulnerable Americans off their healthcare coverage without any 
protections. This is deeply irresponsible and dangerous.
  Americans would also immediately begin paying out of pocket for the 
COVID-19 testing, and hospitals would see an immediate payment cut of 
20 percent for Medicare patients with COVID-19. In addition, important 
waivers and flexibilities, including certain telemedicine flexibilities 
that providers and patients have relied on for the duration of the 
COVID-19 pandemic, would be terminated immediately, as well.
  This legislation would also result in the elimination of vital tools 
for tracking COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and other residential 
  It also impacts our veterans, ending VA clinicians' ability to 
prescribe controlled substances via telehealth. This would severely 
impact many veterans' access to medications that they need to manage 
chronic pain, complex mental health conditions, and substance use 
disorder. The legislation also threatens the progress the VA has made 
in ending veterans' homelessness.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, it would abruptly end flexibilities for the 
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that would impact 
many Americans struggling to put food on their tables, particularly for 
those having trouble finding work and low-income college students.
  The Republicans began their House majority with chaos and confusion 
earlier this month, and this bill continues that chaos and confusion, 
but this time it will hurt millions of Americans directly, and that is 
simply not right.
  Responsibly transitioning to the post-emergency future requires 
careful planning and coordination with public health officials and 
policymakers. I applaud the Biden administration for properly guiding 
the Nation to a safe transition as we unwind these programs without 
endangering access to care and treatment for Americans.
  Unfortunately, Republicans are rushing to recklessly and dangerously 
eliminate all these protections immediately and without warning. I just 
think it is the height of irresponsibility. For that reason, I strongly 
urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, we have been asking for a year for the Secretary of 
Health and Human Services to start showing us a plan for unwinding the 
pandemic public health emergency.
  Now that we are here doing this today, it seems like we are starting 
to move in that direction. Unfortunately, we didn't have any hearings 
last Congress to deal with that, but we are going to begin that, 
working together today.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. 
Bucshon), my friend.
  Mr. BUCSHON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 382, the 
Pandemic is Over Act.
  A public health emergency was first declared by Health and Human 
Services Secretary Alex Azar in January 2020. It was a different time. 
We knew little about the novel coronavirus that was overtaking the 
world. We didn't understand how it worked. We had no way to treat it or 
reduce the spread.
  Now, over 3 years later, the landscape has completely changed. 
Reliable vaccines, tests, and treatments are widely available. 
Businesses are open, Americans are traveling freely, and folks are 
ready and willing to get back to work.
  As I have said from the beginning, it is unlikely we will ever fully 
rid ourselves of the coronavirus, but it can, and indeed has, become 
something we have the ability to deal with. Society can and should be 
returning to normal.
  Even President Biden acknowledged as much in an interview last 
September, more than 4 months ago, when he said the COVID-19 pandemic 
is over. Yet this administration has continued to extend the length of 
the public health emergency, using it to retain fear in the American 
people and to justify continued requests for Federal funding.

[[Page H533]]

  In absence of the administration's willingness to immediately 
rightfully end the public health emergency declaration, it is time for 
Congress to act.
  I am grateful to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) for 
bringing this bill forward. I urge all my colleagues to support a 
formal end to the public health emergency declaration.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Correa).
  Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition. COVID-19 has been the 
worst pandemic we have had in this world in 100 years. It is a medical 
issue to be addressed by doctors and not a political issue.
  Today, my colleagues are asking us to support a bill to terminate the 
COVID public health emergency, yet the Biden administration's current 
extension of the public health emergency is a rational one. It is 
rational in the way we exit from this emergency declaration: We let our 
healthcare system adjust from this tremendous terrible pandemic that 
continues to evolve in our society. I would say a politically driven 
end to COVID-19 is not the way to run our healthcare system.
  Furthermore, while my colleagues are saying there is no need for a 
public health emergency, they want to keep title 42 at the border 
because of its public health emergency implications.

  My colleagues, I say to you, if you truly believe the pandemic is 
over, then you can't say that title 42 is still needed at the border 
because of a healthcare crisis.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, we are ending the emergency powers of the President. We 
are not conceding that COVID-19 is over in this country, and it is not. 
People have to take mitigation. We certainly don't want it coming 
across our southern border, so we support keeping title 42 in place.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. 
  Mrs. CAMMACK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 
382, the Pandemic is Over Act. I thank my friend and colleague from 
Kentucky, Mr. Brett Guthrie, for leading this important effort.
  This action is long overdue. This week we are voting on several bills 
designed to do what we all in America have known for some time, that 
the emergency declaration should go away. Constituents have been 
asking--heck, demanding--that we end this perpetual state of COVID 
emergencies in the Federal Government and get back to normal.
  More than 4 months ago, President Biden declared that the COVID-19 
pandemic was over, yet interestingly the Federal emergency declaration 
is still in place. It makes you wonder, why would the President declare 
that the pandemic is over but not officially rescind the emergency 
  In fact, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem 
more concerned with keeping the public health emergency in place rather 
than addressing the problems we are now being faced with: Things like 
investigating the estimated $163 billion with a b in COVID unemployment 
fraud and recovering those funds that were stolen from the American 
taxpayers; or the approximately $150 billion in unobligated funds that 
is just sitting there for COVID. That is a pretty easy way to start 
reducing spending. Or how about the approximately half a trillion 
dollars that has been obligated but hasn't been pushed out the door 
  Ask yourselves, who benefits from the emergency declaration remaining 
in place?
  It is a fact that the continuation of the public health emergency is 
costing taxpayers billions of dollars and worsening already-crippling 
inflation, inflation which is costing Florida families in my district 
an estimated $10,000 extra a year in basic goods and services. I don't 
know anyone who can afford an extra 10 grand a year.
  The Federal mandates, like this, have increased private health 
insurance costs and grossly exacerbated the ever-increasing national 
debt that will be passed on to my generation, our children, and 
  It is time to get our kids back to school, folks back to work, and 
life back to normal. It is time for us to turn the page and end the 
COVID-19 public health emergency powers. Let's get back to commonsense 
fixes to our healthcare system. Let's get back to work on lowering 
energy costs. Let's get back to work, and let's get back to work in 
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer), a member of the Ways and Means Committee.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in 
permitting me to speak on this. It is not quite as simple as my friend 
from Florida implies.
  Today we are voting to upend the healthcare system and interrupt 
patient care. Ending the public health emergency prematurely would have 
far-reaching implications, and this is a waste of time. The Biden 
administration has already made clear that they are planning on ending 
the emergency in May.
  Why are we spending time abruptly ending this declaration, which is 
going to end in 3 months anyway, when we could have instead had a 
serious conversation about making this as smooth a transition as 
  There are many things that are involved here. Congress already 
started this work in the omnibus by beginning a process to wind down 
Medicaid enrollment policies and extending important programs like 
  I was happy that my bipartisan legislation to extend Medicare's 
Hospital at Home program was extended in this manner. We fought for 
this because we viewed the waivers and policies of the last 3 years as 
a blueprint for future opportunities to innovate and extract value from 
our healthcare system.
  This work was bipartisan because both sides of the aisle saw the 
benefit of the pandemic-era policies. It is unfortunate that instead of 
continuing to build on that work, my colleagues are posturing.
  I have heard from hospitals in my district, and I imagine you have 
heard in yours, how important it is to extend, not end, the waivers 
that address their capacity and staffing challenges.
  If this bill were enacted, those operations would be upended. State 
Medicaid programs would be in unnecessary chaos, with millions at risk 
of losing their health insurance. Seniors would lose access to COVID 
tests because Medicare would no longer be able to pay for them. These 
are just a few examples of the complexity and how irresponsible this 
legislation is. It certainly does not honor the more than a million 
Americans who have lost their lives to this disease.
  After a traumatic 3 years full of loss, the last thing the public 
needs is additional chaos at the hands of the Federal Government.
  At the start of the pandemic, we saw an often divided Congress come 
together to bring meaningful relief to American families. I had hoped 
that we would continue that same spirit of cooperation and dedication 
to our constituents at the end of this chapter.

  I know we have all heard from our hospitals and healthcare systems 
about the needs they still have. I believe we can work together to make 
this a stable transition and learn lessons from the pandemic.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this legislation and instead come to 
the table to work to ease the transition in a reasonable fashion.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I just point out that the omni gave the 
States clarity in how to deal with the Medicaid situation moving 
forward. We also extended telehealth, so a lot of things we have been 
trying to do, we have been asking the administration for a year to 
address some of the things that my friend from Oregon just brought up.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Iowa (Mrs. 
  Mrs. MILLER-MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, as both a physician and the former 
Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I agree with what 
President Biden said in September of last year: The pandemic is over. 
More specifically, even though SARS-CoV-2 is still circulating, it is 
endemic. The public health emergency is and should be over.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support H.R. 382, which would acknowledge 
the truth of the President's words and finally put an end to the public 
health emergency.

[[Page H534]]

  When COVID-19 first reached our shores, the public health emergency 
declaration was a tool that helped our country to mobilize, develop 
testing, develop vaccines, and to distribute PPE and institute our 
manufacturing sector. However, this emergency declaration is no longer 
needed, and instead of putting an end to it, the President has 
continually renewed it with no end in sight.
  For example, we have already extended telehealth for 2 years. From 
mask mandates and vaccine mandates to extending Medicaid expansion to 
previously ineligible participants and student loan forgiveness, the 
President and this administration are using the public health emergency 
to expand government overreach.
  What is irresponsible is not putting a transition in place during 
this past year.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 382 and put an end 
to this outdated, bloated government overreach.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).

                              {time}  1430

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to try and speak something 
called commonsense speak, and that is for my colleagues to understand 
that Americans reject confusion and chaos.
  According to The New York Times, ``An abrupt end to the emergency 
declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout 
the healthcare system--for States, for hospitals and doctors' offices, 
and, most importantly, for the tens of millions of Americans,'' as 
  This is on the data from the White House, which by the way, under 
President Joe Biden, crafted a White House COVID task force that began 
to calm the uncalm waters that we suffered in the last administration.
  Does anyone remember, ``maybe we should drink disinfectant'' in the 
midst of COVID-19?
  Well, let me tell you, in Houston, Texas, we remember it. We also 
know that 6,812,798 persons died around the world from COVID; 1.1 
million died in the United States.
  It was only after an overwhelming effort by the Biden administration 
that we began to see the clock move on individuals willing to get their 
first, second, and third shots; their booster shots. That is why we are 
living, because we were vaccinated, because we overcame the stigma and 
the wrongheaded information that was scaring people about vaccines.
  We didn't lose 1 million people on vaccines. We lost 1 million people 
due to not having that vaccination timely. I am struck by this 
legislation. The pandemic is not over.
  Mr. Speaker, 500 people a day die, right now as I am standing here, 
from COVID. That is a reasonable amount. I know there are other 
infectious diseases, but doesn't it make sense that if we can have a 
vaccine and a protocol that allows people, our children, and those with 
preexisting conditions to live that we want them to do so?
  The Biden administration has announced that they intend to reduce 
this national emergency declaration in May. It will allow our health 
facilities to get themselves organized for the possible onslaught. It 
will also deprive impoverished persons from the ability to get free 
vaccinations, including possibly flu shots, like we are doing in 
Houston, Texas.
  I remember over 70 testing sites that I put in my district with 
healthcare providers week after week after week so that people could be 
tested and so we could bring down COVID in Houston, Texas.
  I remember vaccination sites where people stood in line, a thousand 
at a time, to get vaccinated for free. Are we jumping for joy to 
condemn and now undermine the emergency pandemic that was utilized?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds to the 
gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. All I can say is that health professionals by and 
large in hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices will say no. They need 
their patients healthy. As many people that can get vaccinated with 
information should get vaccinated and, of course, guided by your 
healthcare provider.
  I don't think it makes any good sense to be able to talk about how 
you never got tested, how you never got vaccinated. That is all well 
and good. I applaud an individual who is able to survive not getting 
tested, not getting vaccinated, but I know of so many of my close 
friends who died because there was not a vaccination, there was not 
good healthcare. They came to the end stages of COVID and COVID killed 
  So I don't make a mockery of the hard work of President Biden. I 
truly believe that his time frame--I might think it is a little too 
quick, but I adhere to the President's time frame of May 2023. Let us 
organize so that we can save lives.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has again 
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, at any moment we can have a surge of 
COVID-19. We saw that at the beginning of the convergence of the flu, 
which was high this year, and COVID.
  So I don't celebrate this legislation. I don't take angst or anger 
with the individual who thinks this is the right way, but I know that I 
am on the right side. I am on the dominant side of truth that 6 
million-plus died, 1.1 million died here in the United States and 500 
are dying every day.
  This is not a time to precipitously end the emergency declaration. We 
should also make sure that we are not creating chaos and confusion.
  Mr. Speaker, I again emphasize that we need not have chaos and 
confusion. Unfortunately, I see no purpose in this bill and will vote 
against it.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 382--the Pandemic is 
Over Act, which would terminate the COVID-19 public health emergency 
that was declared on January 31, 2020, on the date of the bill's 
  Yesterday President Biden announced that the Public Health Emergency 
would officially end on May 11, 2023.
  The purpose of doing this would be to allow hospitals, health care 
workers, and health officials the ability to manage changes that will 
come with ending the public health emergency declaration.
  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a Public 
Health Emergency declaration occurs when the Secretary of HHS 
determines that a disease or disorder presents a public health 
emergency (PHE) or that a public health emergency exists.
  Secretary Becerra and the Biden administration have repeatedly said 
that the decision to terminate the public health emergency would be 
based on the best available data and science.
  Through mass testing and vaccination campaigns, the public health 
emergency declaration has helped the American public contain the COVID 
virus, while also keeping the cost low for those seeking treatment.
  The public health emergency has required that group health plans and 
insurers provide patients with COVID vaccines, testing, and treatment; 
expanded telehealth services, and extended health coverage for Medicaid 
  Abruptly ending these pandemic declarations without a transition 
period would be extremely irresponsible because it would create 
uncertainty in health care systems; it would end Medicaid programs that 
have operated under special rules, telehealth would be impacted, and 
group health insurance plans could potentially change frequency of 
testing, vaccination, and treatment for patients.
  These programs have been incredibly helpful at slowing the spread of 
COVID, so we must be thoughtful and practical about how we dissolve the 
public health emergency, which is why we need a transition period as 
proposed by the President just yesterday.
  We must provide stakeholders with time to adjust to the changes that 
will come from ending the public health emergency.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposition to legislation that 
would end the pandemic far too early and would upend some of the 
flexibilities that we all have benefited from since the start of the 
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a New York 
Times article, ``U.S. Plans to End Public Health Emergency for COVID in 

                [From the New York Times, Jan. 30, 2023]

       U.S. Plans To End Public Health Emergency for Covid in May

       The end of the emergency, planned for May 11, will bring 
     about a complex set of policy changes and signals a new 
     chapter in the government's pandemic response.

[[Page H535]]

       Washington--The Biden administration plans to let the 
     coronavirus public health emergency expire in May, the White 
     House said on Monday, a sign that federal officials believe 
     the pandemic has moved into a new, less dire phase.
       The move carries both symbolic weight and real-world 
     consequences. Millions of Americans have received free Covid 
     tests, treatments and vaccines during the pandemic, and not 
     all of that will continue to be free once the emergency is 
     over. The White House wants to keep the emergency in place 
     for several more months so hospitals, health care providers 
     and health officials can prepare for a host of changes when 
     it ends, officials said.
       An average of more than 500 people in the United States are 
     still dying from Covid-19 each day, about twice the number of 
     deaths per day during a bad flu season. But at the three-year 
     mark, the coronavirus is no longer upending everyday life to 
     the extent it once did, partly because much of the population 
     has at least some protection against the virus from 
     vaccinations and prior infections.
       Still, the White House said on Monday that the nation 
     needed an orderly transition out of the public health 
     emergency. The administration said it also intended to allow 
     a separate declaration of a national emergency to expire on 
     the same day, May 11.
       ``An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create 
     wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care 
     system--for states, for hospitals and doctors' offices, and, 
     most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,'' the 
     White House said in a statement.
       The announcement came on the eve of a scheduled vote in the 
     House on a bill that would immediately end the public health 
     emergency. The bill, called the Pandemic Is Over Act, is one 
     of several pandemic-related measures that the Republican-
     controlled chamber is scheduled to consider this week. The 
     White House issued its statement as the administration's 
     response to that bill and another measure that would end the 
     national emergency.
       The back and forth signaled what is likely to be a 
     protracted political battle between House Republicans and the 
     White House over its handling of the pandemic. Republican 
     lawmakers hope to put the Biden administration on the 
     defensive, claiming it spent extravagantly in the name of 
     battling the coronavirus.
       ``Rather than waiting until May 11, the Biden 
     administration should Join us now in immediately ending this 
     declaration,'' Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of 
     Louisiana and the majority leader, said in a statement. ``The 
     days of the Biden administration being able to hide behind 
     Covid to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on their 
     unrelated, radical agenda are over.''
       The White House argues that it is only because of federal 
     Covid policies mandating free tests, treatments and vaccines 
     that the pandemic is now under better control. Covid was the 
     third-leading cause of death from 2020 through mid-2022; now 
     it is no longer among the top five killers, federal officials 
       The public health emergency was first declared by the Trump 
     administration in January 2020, and it has been renewed every 
     90 days since then. The Biden administration had pledged to 
     alert states 60 days before ending it. The emergency was last 
     renewed earlier in January, and many state health officials 
     expected it would be allowed to expire in mid-April.
       Ending the emergency will prompt complex changes in the 
     cost of Covid tests and treatments that Americans are 
     accustomed to getting for free. Any charges they face will 
     vary depending on whether they have private insurance, 
     Medicare coverage, Medicaid coverage or no health insurance. 
     What state they live in could also be a factor.
       Still, the consequences may not be quite as dramatic as 
     public health experts once feared. Medicaid enrollment 
     expanded greatly during the pandemic because low-income 
     Americans were kept in the program for as long as the public 
     health emergency was active.
       But a congressional spending package enacted in December 
     effectively broke that link, instead setting an April 
     deadline when states will begin losing additional funding for 
     Medicaid coverage. State officials are likely to gradually 
     remove Americans from Medicaid rolls this year beginning 
     then. That transition avoids a more sudden removal of 
     millions of poor Americans from their health coverage.
       By reconfiguring that expensive policy, Congress was able 
     to use the projected savings to pay for expanded Medicaid 
     benefits for children, postpartum mothers and residents of 
     U.S. territories.
       The December legislation also extended coverage for 
     telehealth visits for Medicare recipients through 2024. 
     Telemedicine proved a lifeline for many during the pandemic, 
     and that coverage would have ended when the emergency was 
       Still, other services might prove more costly to Americans, 
     particularly those with no insurance. People with private 
     health insurance or Medicare coverage have been eligible for 
     eight free coronavirus tests each month. Insurers were 
     required to cover tests, even if they were administered by 
     providers that were not part of their networks. Once the 
     emergency ends, some Americans will end up paying out of 
     pocket for those tests.
       And while vaccines will continue to be covered for people 
     with private insurance or Medicare or Medicaid coverage, the 
     end of the emergency will mean that some Americans may have 
     to pay out of pocket for Covid treatments, such as Paxlovid, 
     an antiviral pill. Hospitals will also no longer receive 
     higher Medicare payment rates for treating Covid patients.
       Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser 
     Family Foundation, said the emergency declaration had 
     provided an important reprieve from the American health care 
     system's typically fractured way of covering the costs of 
     care, giving more people access to services that might 
     otherwise not have been covered by insurance.
       The White House's decision, she added, could send the wrong 
     message about how relaxed Americans should be about the 
       ``To the extent that it might let people let their guard 
     down from one day to the next, that could raise some 
     challenges,'' she said.

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, we are trying to end the emergency powers 
of the President during the pandemic. We recognize COVID is still an 
issue that people have to deal with. We absolutely know that we are 
going to be working together over the next few weeks and months to make 
sure we have in place the proper protections.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. 
Carter), my good friend.
  Mr. CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favor of H.R. 382, the Pandemic 
is Over Act.
  Mr. Speaker, to quote President Biden, ``the COVID-19 pandemic is 
  This is one of the few times I have agreed with him from this 
Chamber. Now that the House is finally voting to end the public health 
emergency, President Biden has suddenly decided to end it in May. It is 
past time for us to act. That is why I will be voting for the Pandemic 
is Over Act, and I urge my colleagues to do the same thing.
  This is not just a symbolic gesture. It is critically important that 
we vote to end the so-called emergency once and for all.
  Mr. Speaker, this administration has maintained the emergency 
declaration for 3 years. Americans have moved on from the pandemic. 
Georgians in my district went back to work and back to school over 2 
years ago, so why is our country still under a public health emergency?
  The reason why is because it is the vehicle this administration has 
used to implement mask mandates and other leftist policies. It is 
nothing more than an excuse for Federal overreach that prohibits States 
from making decisions for their constituents.
  It is time to make it official. Let's end this COVID-19 public health 
emergency and focus on reviving our economy.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Guthrie and Chairwoman Rodgers 
for working together on this legislation, and I encourage my colleagues 
to support this bill.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker, I commend Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee, my colleague, for 
everything that she just said.
  I remember so many times during the first year of the COVID pandemic 
when she was calling me and trying to get testing sites, trying to make 
sure that a lot of her constituents were tested and had received the 
  It is very easy for our colleagues on the other side now to say, 
well, this is over. It is time to move on. But the bottom line is that 
we never know for sure exactly what is going to manifest itself. Even 
when the President said yesterday that he is planning on ending this 
public health emergency on May 11, notice he said ``plan'' because we 
are not sure that that is possible.
  In any case, it makes no sense to just say that we are going to do 
this immediately upon enactment of this bill--which is not going to be 
enacted, but nonetheless--because we need to do a lot of preparation 
and planning. We did some of that even in the omnibus that passed at 
the end of the last session with continuous eligibility for Medicaid, 
for example.
  My understanding is the way this bill is worded, that would end if 
this passed immediately, as well.
  Mr. Speaker, so our point is that this is a pandemic that we just 
have to be very careful about what we do. We have to do adequate 
  The President has said May 11 is the likely date. That is fine. But 
it has to be based on science. We shouldn't be

[[Page H536]]

getting up here and say, ``end it immediately.''
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Balderson).
  Mr. BALDERSON. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Guthrie for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 382, the Pandemic is Over Act. 
As Representatives of the American people, we owe it to them to assess 
our country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and look to better 
prepare for future pandemics. Most importantly, the American people 
deserve honesty and normalcy.
  The pandemic is over. Even President Biden said as much last 
September. That level of honesty from the President is a step in the 
right direction, but after the President publicly declared the pandemic 
over, he extended the public health emergency not just once, but two 
more times. Today marks 3 years since the original public health 
emergency declaration.
  Our country has been through a lot in the last 3 years but it is time 
to get back to normal. It is time to give power back to the people.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of H.R. 382.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire how much time remains on both 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New Jersey has 15\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Kentucky has 17\1/2\ minutes 
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Obernolte).
  Mr. OBERNOLTE. Mr. Speaker, in times of national crisis, our 
Constitution and our Federal laws empower our President to temporarily 
seize extraordinary power. This is necessary to allow him the authority 
to alter Federal law to meet the urgent needs of the emergency.
  In this case, that declaration of emergency to meet the crisis of the 
coronavirus pandemic occurred almost 3 years ago. Mr. Speaker, also 
incumbent in that authority is the expectation that the executive 
branch will return that authority to the people when it is no longer 
needed. That is certainly the case today.
  Congress has met hundreds and hundreds of times since the executive 
branch first declared the state of emergency. Congress has had abundant 
opportunity to pass Federal legislation codifying or rejecting the 
President's recommendations. Unfortunately, the Biden administration 
has recently renewed the state of emergency for a twelfth time. This is 
not what the Founding Fathers intended.

  Mr. Speaker, the Founding Fathers intended the legislative branch of 
government, the people's elected Representatives, to be the ones that 
set laws for the United States of America, and it is past time that 
that authority be returned to the people.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this bill.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Moskowitz).
  Mr. MOSKOWITZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 
382, and I urge my colleagues to support my motion to recommit which 
would prohibit this legislation from going into effect if it will 
negatively impact Medicare beneficiaries.
  Speaker McCarthy has publicly stated that cuts to Medicare will be 
off the table in any debt ceiling negotiations, but that commitment 
clearly does not carry over to today's legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 382 would increase patient costs and cut hospital 
payments to Medicare beneficiaries.
  In its nearly 68 years of existence, Medicare has given millions of 
Americans access to affordable healthcare coverage. Generations have 
been given peace of mind knowing that they will have comprehensive 
available coverage to them as they age, regardless of their financial 
  In 2021, nearly 64 million Americans, including 4.8 million 
Floridians, were enrolled in Medicare. These individuals are Democrats, 
Republicans, and everything in between. They are our friends, our 
family members, our colleagues, our neighbors, our mentors. We must 
ensure that these beneficiaries can continue to rely on the lifesaving 
coverage provided through Medicare.
  The President has announced his intention to end the public health 
emergency on May 11, providing a glide path to smoothly transition out 
of the emergency era programs. As Florida's former director of 
Emergency Management during the early days of the pandemic, I helped 
stand up many of the public health emergency initiatives that provided 
Americans with COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines at no charge. 
These initiatives offered enhanced social safety net benefits to help 
the Nation cope with the pandemic and minimize the impact.
  What would an instant cut to the social safety net mean for Medicare 
beneficiaries and their families? The American family could face an 
abrupt increase in costs and decrease in care. What would this mean for 
your local hospital back home?
  Hospitals could see a cut of 20 percent for care of COVID patients. 
Without a responsible plan in place, millions of patients, including 
many veterans and children, would abruptly face increased barriers to 
critical hospital care. Rural patients and those with behavioral health 
needs would be among the most impacted.
  So why are some of my colleagues pushing for this to happen? Because 
it is rooted in political messaging, not thoughtful policy.
  An instant termination to the public health emergency without proper 
coordination with agencies, States, and providers, would interrupt 
insurance coverage, access to care, increase patients' out-of-pocket 
costs, and threaten provider payments.
  I, like many of my Democratic colleagues and millions of Americans, 
want to officially end the pandemic and the emergency. As I mentioned, 
President Biden has announced his intention to do so while taking the 
time necessary to absorb the impacts.
  Pushing for an immediate cessation of the emergency initiatives for 
messaging purposes could leave millions of Medicare beneficiaries 
unexpectedly without access to programs that they are currently on.
  Mr. Speaker, it is for those reasons that I submit a motion to 
recommit that will prohibit the bill from going into effect if it will 
negatively impact Medicare beneficiaries.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to add the text of my amendment 
in the Record immediately prior to the vote on the motion to recommit.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Florida?
  There was no objection.

                              {time}  1445

  Mr. Speaker, I know that we plussed-up accounts for COVID that went 
to hospitals. I am not sure there is any bill that has been offered 
from the other side to continue the plus-up for COVID spending. I guess 
what is being referred to in this motion to recommit must be what they 
are referring to.
  I will point out that we do have to deal with Medicare. We do have to 
save Medicare. In the Inflation Reduction Act, money was taken out of 
  If you take Medicare part D reform, if you take the rebate rule, $288 
billion was taken out of Medicare with no Republican votes, cut from--
taken from Medicare and used to spend on some things in Medicare but 
other programs without shoring Medicare up.
  If they want to have an intellectual discussion on saving Medicare, 
that is going to be something we are going to have to work on over the 
next 2 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. 
Molinaro), my good friend.
  Mr. MOLINARO. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding time.
  There is a reason that nearly every other level of government in 
America has ceased to exercise executive authority. The emergency is 
  Mr. Speaker, 1,100 days ago, the President declared a public health 
emergency. We know this. Since then, that order has been extended a 
dozen times, including twice after President Biden declared the 
pandemic over during a ``60 Minutes'' interview on national television.
  Mr. Speaker, 1,100 days ago, the public health emergency was 
warranted. I know this. I lived it as a county executive where I took 
immediate emergency action to protect our most vulnerable and help to 
save lives. I saw

[[Page H537]]

firsthand the flexibilities granted under such an emergency, expanding 
access to care and services during a time of essential need.
  I also simultaneously saw how the absolute power granted within such 
an order corrupted New York State government and enabled Governors and 
the President to choose who was and was not essential.
  It is important that we find bipartisan solutions and agreements to 
extend those efficiencies and flexibilities we like, but it is past 
time to end the executive and Presidential overreach.
  Emergency executive authority should be limited and only for 
extraordinary circumstances. This is no longer an extraordinary 
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Ms. Tlaib).
  Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, in the State of Michigan, there have been 
over 16,000 COVID-19 cases just this month. Nearly 200 people have 
died. Death and illness and viruses should not be politicized.
  In both Wayne and Oakland Counties, we are still seeing nearly 3,000 
cases per week, so the pandemic is far from over. We have residents 
being hospitalized and families having to say good-bye to their loved 
ones because of this deadly virus.
  This pandemic is not over. The pandemic is still preventing people 
from going to work and school, disrupting everyday lives.
  By ending resources and policies that have surely saved lives, we are 
leaving our residents and communities to fend for themselves. They 
cannot do this alone.
  We must continue to provide resources to combat COVID-19 and the 
impacts of long COVID, from testing to treatment and care.
  We can continue to save lives together. Continuing to provide 
resources is not only the right and sensible thing to do, but it is the 
moral thing to do.
  Please, again, we must vote ``no'' on H.R. 382.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker, I agree with my friend from Michigan that we absolutely 
have to look at putting things in place and keeping things in place 
that protect our citizens from COVID-19. We are not dismissing that.
  What I am saying, or what we are saying, is it should be a 
legislative branch-wide issue, that we believe that if things are going 
to stay in place or be put in place, it should be by an act of 
Congress, signed by the President, as the Constitution says, instead of 
just the President making decisions for almost 3 years now--two 
administrations, almost 3 years now.
  That is what we are saying. We look forward to working together to 
solve these issues and moving forward.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I listened to my colleague from Kentucky, but as much as I respect 
him, I totally disagree with what he has been saying here.
  Under the public law right now, the emergency--when it starts, when 
it ends--is done by the administration. Specifically, the Secretary of 
Health and Human Services, I guess, recommends to the President. There 
is a reason for that, and that is because he gets all this information 
from various sources about the science, about when we should be doing 
  I disagree to say that we, as the Congress, should be the ones that 
make that determination either to begin or end.
  In addition to that, the gentleman from Kentucky mentioned in 
response to one of my Democratic colleagues the provision that we 
passed in the last Congress in the Inflation Reduction Act to negotiate 
prices for prescription drugs under Medicare. The fact of the matter is 
that wasn't a cut to Medicare. That was a way of trying to make drug 
prices more affordable for our seniors.
  To suggest that somehow that is a cut I don't think is accurate. I 
mean, this is a major savings to seniors out of pocket once this 
program goes into effect.
  By way of background, again, some of my Democratic colleagues have 
stressed that we hear constantly from the other side of the aisle this 
idea that the Republicans are going to refuse to raise the debt ceiling 
unless they can cut Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid and other 
vital programs. They seem so determined to cut Americans' healthcare 
that they are willing to recklessly risk defaulting on the national 
debt and wreaking havoc on the economy.

  Again, it is the same thing here. What we are saying is if you cut 
off this public health emergency earlier than what the President is 
suggesting, under this bill, you end a lot of programs that are very 
important: continuous eligibility for Medicaid, a 20 percent cut in 
hospital payments, free testing, free vaccines.
  I mean, all this ends, and it makes no sense, in my opinion. We 
should be trying to do what we can to help American families and make 
the right decisions based on the science.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I think I did use the word ``cut,'' and I think I corrected myself. 
We are spending less money in Medicare, so you are taking money out of 
Medicare under the Inflation Reduction Act, but that money wasn't 
really put back in to shore up Medicare. It was spent in other 
programs, so there is $288 billion less being spent in Medicare.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman 
from Washington (Mrs. Rodgers), the chairwoman of the Energy and 
Commerce Committee. As we stated today in our organizational session, 
she is the first chairwoman in the history of the oldest committee in 
  Mrs. RODGERS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's 
leadership on the Subcommittee on Health, as well as bringing forward 
this legislation today. I think it is very important legislation, H.R. 
382, the Pandemic is Over Act.
  Just to recap, 3 years ago today, Health and Human Services Secretary 
Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for the emerging threat 
that was the novel coronavirus. The U.S. had just identified its first 
official case over a week prior.
  Within 1 year of the anniversary of the public health emergency, 
thanks to the early leadership of President Trump and Operation Warp 
Speed, an authorized vaccine helped prevent thousands of 
hospitalizations and deaths.
  Mr. Speaker, 3 years later, it is estimated that 95 percent of those 
over 16 have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19.
  Earlier in January, President Biden extended the public health 
emergency for the twelfth time, continuing to use the pandemic and the 
national and public health emergency authorities to achieve progressive 
policy goals. This includes pushing for an indefinite extension on the 
moratorium on evictions, the suspension of student loan interest 
payments, and attempts to require masking in public transit.
  Last week, House Republicans announced that we would bring this bill, 
along with Representative Paul Gosar's bill, to end the COVID-19 
national emergency to the floor today. Just yesterday, the Biden 
administration decided to announce their plans to end the public health 
emergency on May 11, 2023, which CNN has reported only came after the 
House Democrats were worried about voting against this bill without the 
White House having a plan in place.
  Whatever the reason or the rationale for their announcement, I am 
pleased that the administration is following the House Republicans and 
finally abiding by President Biden's own acknowledgment 4 months ago 
that the pandemic is over, but it shouldn't take another 3 months to 
unwind this authoritarian control.
  It is long past time for the Biden administration to stop relying on 
an emergency that no longer exists so that they can make unilateral 
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my fellow Democratic colleagues to join the 
Democratic administration and House Republicans in voting ``yes'' on 
H.R. 382. Declare the COVID-19 pandemic over. Give Americans their 
lives back. Work to develop policies so that we are better prepared 
moving forward.
  The Senate voted in a bipartisan way to end the national emergency, 
and I hope that this bill also will gain bipartisan support.

[[Page H538]]


  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just say this in closing. We do have one more 
speaker, though.
  I think that this legislation that is before us today is totally 
unnecessary and creates all kinds of problems. In other words, the 
President has indicated his plan is to end the emergency on, I believe 
he said, May 12. We estimated it would probably end sometime in April 
of this year when we were working on the omnibus at the end of last 
year. We put in the omnibus a lot of protections and guardrails for 
when the public health emergency would end, but there is still more 
that needs to be done.
  My concern is that the way this bill is written, it basically 
eliminates a lot of those guardrails, a lot of those protections, like 
the continuous eligibility for Medicaid.
  At the same time, it doesn't allow, because it says immediately upon 
enactment, us to wind this down in an effective way so that we don't 
have problems like the 20 percent cut for hospitals, eliminating 
continuous eligibility, free testing, free vaccines.
  There are so many things here that the public relies on--I didn't 
even mention the veterans, the nursing homes, the SNAP program--that, 
to me, it is reckless to say we are just going to end it immediately.
  Let's shelve this legislation. I suggest a ``no'' vote. Let the 
President and this administration wind this process down in an 
effective way to protect Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Takano), who is the ranking member on the Committee on Veterans' 
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I thank Ranking Member Pallone for yielding 
  I rise today in opposition to H.R. 382, the Pandemic is Over Act. 
This is an effort by our Republican colleagues to hastily terminate a 
public health emergency designation that will have damaging effects on 
our Nation's veterans and those who care for them.

  Currently, this emergency designation grants our government a number 
of critical flexibilities that not only allow it to work more 
efficiently and effectively but that are essential to support America's 
veteran population.
  When we passed the CARES Act in 2020, we did so carefully and 
thoughtfully to ensure that veterans would be able to safely and 
quickly access the care they needed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
We also ensured the Department of Veterans Affairs and its employees 
had the tools and flexibilities they needed to meet their mission.
  I am especially concerned by the risk that would be caused by hastily 
terminating healthcare providers' ability to prescribe controlled 
substances via telehealth. This will severely impact millions of 
patients' access to medications they need to manage chronic pain, 
complex mental health conditions, and substance abuse disorders.
  Veterans who experience these conditions at greater rates than their 
nonveteran counterparts are among those who would be severely affected.
  VA estimates at least 47,000 veterans have active controlled 
substance prescriptions from prescribers they have never seen in 
person. A sudden termination of the public health emergency would mean 
all of them would need immediate in-person visits with their 
prescribers in order to continue their treatments.

                              {time}  1500

  An additional 247,000 veterans have active controlled substances 
prescriptions through virtual care at VA, and many of these veterans' 
continued access to medications could also be at risk.
  During the public health emergency, we also specifically addressed 
the unique health and safety needs facing homeless veterans. Those 
actions included ensuring that veterans experiencing homelessness had 
access to basic needs, like shelter, food, clothing, and 
transportation, while also ensuring service providers had the funding 
they needed to maintain social distancing and distribute those in need 
across multiple facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  What we learned from the pandemic is that providing these 
foundational basic needs to homeless veterans and service providers 
works in promoting housing security.
  Last week, VA announced it housed over 40,000 veterans experiencing 
homelessness in 2022, surpassing its goal of housing 38,000 veterans. 
That tremendous accomplishment can be directly attributed to the 
authorities Congress put in place during the pandemic.
  Rolling back those flexibilities now would mean more veterans would 
go without the resources they need to survive.
  If my Republican colleagues are so insistent on ending the public 
health emergency prematurely, I hope they are equally insistent on 
ensuring that we quickly make permanent those pandemic authorities that 
veterans need.
  I am proud to support Congresswoman Nikema Williams' bill, H.R. 491, 
the Return Home to Housing Act, and cosponsor Congresswoman Cherfilus-
McCormick's bill, the Healthy Foundations for Homeless Veterans Act.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from California.
  Mr. TAKANO. These bills will ensure that there is no lapse in the 
care and resources homeless veterans need when the public health 
emergency designation ends, and I hope my Republican colleagues will 
support them.
  The Biden administration announced last night it intends to extend 
the COVID-19 emergency declarations to end on May 11. Unlike my 
colleagues on the other side who want to irresponsibly put an end to 
the national emergency today, the additional time gives the agencies 
and Congress time to ensure there is no disruption in care and services 
for veterans.
  My Republican colleagues have a choice to make. They can continue to 
insist on pushing an agenda that politicizes the pandemic, terminate 
the public health emergency designation prematurely, and wholly 
disregard the disastrous impact such an action would have on veterans, 
or they can put aside this shortsighted approach and use their newfound 
control of Congress to actually do the job they were sent to Washington 
to do: pass legislation that helps our Nation's veterans.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to oppose H.R. 382.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to close, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I urge opposition to this bill. As Mr. 
Takano said, so many things will immediately end needlessly from this 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, one of the points that my friend from California just 
brought up--we have this 3-year running telehealth that is moving 
forward. We all know that we can't put the genie back in the bottle. We 
have to work on telehealth, but we know for a fact there have been 
diversions of controlled substances through telehealth. We know that. 
So why don't we take back our authority? Let's negotiate moving 
  Let's think about where this has gone. Three years ago today, 
Secretary Azar--two administrations--declares a public health 
emergency. It started doing a lot of things. One is that it allowed 
emergency use authorization, so we had therapeutics and had all these 
things come forward.
  Also the status--not necessarily every statute under Health and Human 
Services, but because you have the status of a public health emergency, 
you can invoke other statutes: the Defense Production Act by President 
Trump to get respirators and moving a ship outside of New York so the 
people in New York and New Jersey could have an extra hospital, a 
mobile hospital.
  I mean, all of those things happened. When we delegate our authority, 
those are the things that we move forward.
  On January 20, 2021, almost a million people were being vaccinated. 
President Biden came in to continue the vaccination process. Then, a 
year into his administration, we, on our side of the aisle, sent a 
letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary saying that this 
needs to end. We can't continue to operate under emergency authority. 
Let's have a plan.
  Everything that they have talked about today, every speaker they have

[[Page H539]]

had: Let's have a plan to end this emergency, and let's do it in a way 
that we can address the issues that need to be addressed.
  We have learned a lot during the pandemic about things that worked. 
Let's do things that work. Let's fix things that don't work, like the 
telehealth diversion of controlled substances.
  Some of those are the things--we have been a year in, since February 
1 tomorrow, almost a year since then, and we haven't seen a plan. We 
haven't seen anything.
  There was some stuff done, I know, in the omnibus with telehealth. 
That is what we are saying. We don't need to continue to operate the 
country in an emergency status. We need to end it.
  So why bring the bill up? They say this is irresponsible, the bill 
moving forward. The bill was in Rules last night. We have had no word 
from anybody in the executive branch that they are going to deal with 
  While the bill was being considered in Rules, they come out that it 
is going to end on May 11?

  So this bill is needed. It is needed because it is moving us forward.
  What we can do now, as the bill makes its way to the Senate--I don't 
know if the Senate is going to take it up or not, but what I will 
pledge to my friend from New Jersey and my friend from California, who 
is the ranking Democrat on the Health Subcommittee, is that we will 
work to make sure we find the areas that we need to continue the 
lessons that we learned, that we need to put into place, into statute, 
and to take care of things that need to be taken care of.
  What we don't need to do is allow the carte blanche, 3-year open 
emergency pandemic that we know has had issues, as well. I mean, we 
always talk about the things we want to keep. We can talk about those 
and work on them.
  The things that we need to address, using telehealth to divert 
controlled substances, we know that that has taken place. There are 
examples of that. We absolutely need to address that.
  I will pledge that we will work, on our side of the aisle, with our 
friends on the other side of the aisle to find things to make sure that 
we continue to address the fact that we still have COVID-19.
  One thing to note is we are still going to have COVID-19, and we 
don't need it coming across our borders. Because we are doing this, we 
also still need to keep title 42 in place.
  I look forward to working together. This is necessary. It has moved 
this administration, hopefully, forward. We can say that, May 11, we 
move forward on this. I am proud to be the sponsor of it, and I urge my 
colleagues to support it.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 75, the previous question is ordered on 
the bill.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.

                           Motion to Recommit

  Mr. MOSKOWITZ. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. Moskowitz moves to recommit the bill H.R. 382 to the 
     Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  The material previously referred to by Mr. Moskowitz is as follows:

       Mr. Moskowitz moves to recommit the bill H.R. 382 to the 
     Committee on Energy and Commerce with instructions to report 
     the same back to the House forthwith, with the following 
       Add at the end the following new section:


       The provisions of this Act shall not take effect until the 
     date on which the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
     submits to Congress a certification that such provisions will 
     not result in any negative impact to any individual entitled 
     to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B of title 
     XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.).
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XIX, the 
previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit.
  The question is on the motion to recommit.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question are postponed.