by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Democrats are lashing out against President Joe Biden after he signaled he would sign a GOP-led bill to end the COVID-19 national emergency despite pressing party lawmakers to oppose the measure when it was introduced earlier this year.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Wednesday to lift the national emergency declaration, with dozens of Democrats joining Republicans in backing the measure after being told Biden would not veto the legislation. The decision to change course angered House Democrats, who said Biden’s reversal caught them off guard.
“It’s frustrating,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). “This is a problem. And, you know, we’ve got to have some conversations because this — they’ve got to do better.”
The House first passed a resolution ending the COVID-19 emergency on Feb. 1, with 197 Democrats voting against the measure at the Biden administration’s request. At the time, the White House opposed the bill because it “would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the healthcare system.”
Instead, Biden said he would block the measure and unilaterally lift the emergency declaration on May 11.
The president later reversed course, with the White House confirming on Wednesday that although Biden still opposes the measure, he will sign it when it comes to his desk, according to Axios.
However, Democrats said their frustration wasn’t rooted in the decision itself but rather in Biden’s lack of communication about his plans.
“Clearly, we’re going to need a better line of communication,” one Democrat told the Hill. “You should talk to some of the front lines; the front lines are the ones whose heads explode.”
The sudden about-face comes after a similar policy reversal occurred earlier this month when Biden angered House Democrats with his decision not to veto a Republican-led bill to overturn the revised criminal code being implemented in Washington, D.C.