By Jack Phillips
About a dozen Senate Democrats joined all Republicans and voted to rescind the COVID-19 emergency, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who later said his “yea” vote was a mistake.
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Angus King (I-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Schumer joined all Republicans to end the emergency declaration. King, an independent, caucuses with Democrats.
Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who was in Nebraska after his wife reportedly suffered a seizure, and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who is facing a runoff challenge next month, did not vote.
The Senate passed a measure in a 62–36 vote to end the emergency declaration, which was first issued on March 13, 2020.
Hours later, Schumer’s office issued a statement saying that his vote was “mistakenly recorded as a yes. That is not his position. It will be corrected later today when the Senate convenes.” His office did not elaborate.
After the dozen Democrats voted in favor of ending the emergency, they were criticized by left-wing activist Nina Turner, a failed Ohio congressional candidate who previously worked for self-described Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “Hey @SenSchumer, MAJORITY LEADER, we certainly see you,” she wrote on Wednesday evening.
“It has now been more than two and a half years since this first-issued proclamation declaring the national emergency concerning declaration and been extended twice by President Biden since the initial declaration, most recently February of this year,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who sponsored the resolution, said Wednesday.
Despite the bipartisan support, President Joe Biden’s administration issued a statement that said the president will veto the measure.
“Continuing to protect against COVID-19 and ensuring that our response remains nimble are top priorities of this Administration,” the White House said, adding that the emergency provides his office with resources to respond to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a federal health official said the White House would keep its COVID-19 public health emergency intact. The administration previously said it would give 60 days of notice before the emergency ends, and the Nov. 11 deadline came and went without such notice.
Sarah Lovenheim, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement Monday that the federal health emergency will “remains in effect and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration.”