Speed Reads

End of an era

Biden signs legislation ending COVID-19 national emergency

President Biden signed bipartisan legislation Monday ending the COVID-19 national emergency three years after former President Donald Trump approved it in the early days of the pandemic, the White House said in a one-sentence statement. The national emergency declaration had been set to expire in a few weeks, alongside the separate COVID-19 public health emergency. Biden initially opposed ending the national emergency when House Republicans passed the resolution in February, but he agreed to sign it after the Senate approved it 68-23 in March.

The national emergency allowed the federal government to shore up economic, health, and welfare programs, The Associated Press reports. Some of those programs have already been phased out, others are still being wound down, and Congress extended pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities for another two years. The national health emergency, which underpins the Title 42 immigration restrictions, will continue to be in effect until May 11. More than 1.13 million Americans have died of COVID-19 and hundreds continue to die from the disease each week.