President Biden terminated the national emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, three years after federal and state governments initially enacted a two-week order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Biden signed the resolution ending the orders after U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers passed the bill despite almost 200 House Democrats voting against ending the national emergency declaration, which led to draconian social distancing rules, closures of small businesses and schools, and mask and vaccine mandates.
“The President signed into law: H.J.Res. 7, which terminates the national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the White House said in a short news release.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration quietly admitted its plan to end the COVID-19 emergency declarations, which initially intended to file one last extension of the national and public health emergency declarations on April 11 until officially ending both on May 11.
The policy was intended to criticize two bills in the House of Representatives that would end the emergency declarations by force, claiming the legislation 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.”
According to The Hill, the new law ends federal health program waivers, including Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, although health officials have eased back on many of the regulations surrounding COVID-19.
The declaration also allowed the Trump administration to pause student loan repayments and enact Title 42, to block illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border out of caution for public health.
Biden administration officials are still trying to end the policy that allows border agents to turn migrants away on an expedited basis, but the Supreme Court stopped it.
Former President Donald Trump first declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020, which allowed federal officials to authorize funding for testing and vaccination centers in cities and states.