House Democrats are softening against the White House after President Biden indicated he will sign legislation lifting the national COVID-19 emergency declaration — a move that came less than two months after Democrats en masse opposed at the administration’s request had protested the same measure.
Nearly 200 House Democrats had voted against the Republican proposal for an immediate lifting of the emergency decree on Feb. 1 after the White House warned it would “create widespread chaos and insecurity throughout the healthcare system.” Administration officials said they needed a longer settlement window and would unilaterally remove the designation on May 11. It passed the House 229-197 with 11 Democrats voting in favour.
But Senate Democrats brought the same repeal proposal on Wednesday, where it passed easily by a vote of 68 to 23, and a White House official said Biden will sign it into law.
The president’s change of position caught House Democrats off guard, and a number of lawmakers — particularly frontliners who face tough re-election battles next year — were quick to vent their frustration upon hearing the news on Wednesday night.
“It’s frustrating,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.). “It’s best [an] unacceptable lack of clarity in their message to us. I mean, if they take the position that they didn’t specifically state, he would veto it [Statement of Administration Policy], you know, that’s not good. That’s a problem. And you know, we need to have some conversations because this — they need to do better.
“I find it surprising and would like to see a little more consistency,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).
Wednesday’s White House flip-flip brought back memories in some members of a similar situation earlier in the month, when Biden said he would sign a resolution to block Washington DC’s revised criminal code, despite a statement earlier from the government had said it opposed the measure.
A total of 173 House Democrats had already voted against the bill, a position they believed to be in line with the White House. The announcement sparked howls from House Democrats, who felt caught off guard by the White House’s change in tone.
Some Democrats said the problem with the COVID-19 resolution isn’t the practical implications of passing the bill, as Biden planned to lift the emergency designation in less than a month and a half. Rather, they are frustrated by what they see as a lack of communication between the White House and its allies on Capitol Hill.
“We’re definitely going to need a better line of communication,” said another Democrat. “You should speak to some of the front lines; the front lines are the ones whose heads will explode.”
The Hill spoke to some frontliners, and although no heads exploded, a lot of frustration boiled up.
“It’s obviously frustrating…unnecessarily embarrassing us,” said one of those lawmakers, who requested anonymity to criticize an ally.
The national emergency decree, declared in March 2020, authorized the Trump administration, and later the Biden administration, to use special powers under the National Emergencies Act for the purpose of combating COVID-19. Biden had used that power to help states and localities fight the virus, primarily through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and to launch his controversial student-loan lending effort, which is currently bound in court.
The national emergency differs from the public health emergency designation declared in January 2020, which grants the administration additional powers and access to resources — a designation that spurred Title 42 powers to deport migrants arriving at the southern border. The government is expected to resolve the public health emergency on March 11.
Washington’s emergency response to the pandemic has been an explosive issue on the campaign trail, where Republicans have blasted Biden for overdoing his response at the expense of individual liberties and the nation’s fiscal health. And GOP staffers wasted no time Wednesday to highlight the House vote in hopes it will become a burden for vulnerable Democrats in next year’s election.
“Once again, House Democrats are showing voters just how extreme they really are while House Republicans continue to deliver on their promises to the American people,” Courtney Parella, spokeswoman for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican PAC, said in a statement.
Republicans were just as quick to use the DC crime bill vote to portray House Democrats as pro-crime. The code would partially eliminate most compulsory sentences and reduce penalties for a variety of crimes, including auto theft and robbery.
Less than a week after the president’s announcement, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced a new ad campaign targeting 15 House Democrats for their opposition vote.
“Murderers get reduced sentences. Carjackers receive slaps in the face from pandering politicians. Not just the DC City Council,” the ad reads. “173 House Democrats voted for reduced sentences for violent crimes. So crazy that not even President Biden supports anarchy.”
“What’s next? Fail the police,” she continued.
For their part, the Democratic leadership is brushing off the recent dusting off as not a problem because of the approaching expiry date of the COVID-19 national emergency that the government announced earlier this year.
“It’s almost April, as far as I know, the Biden administration had set May 11th as the date. So I guess from a timing standpoint it doesn’t matter because whether it’s May 11 or sometime in April, it’s all about the same,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), the vice chairman of the House of Representatives the democrats.
Doggett said the national emergency of COVID-19 and DC’s crime legislation are “very similar,” but a second House Democrat suggested they weren’t blindsided this time about the previous episode.
“Blindsided would mean it’s totally unexpected; Given this recent experience with DC crime law I guess I’m not overly shocked, just disappointed,” the lawmaker said.
Copyright 2023 Nextstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.
#House #Democrats #vent #frustration #Bidens #reversal #COVID19 #emergency #measure
More From Shayari.Page