Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Biden won’t veto Republican-led bill ending COVID emergency

Published:Friday | March 31, 2023 | 3:01 PM
President Joe Biden speaks during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, celebrating Greek Independence Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden won't veto a Republican-led measure to end the national COVID emergency, despite having expressed strong objections against it earlier this year, ensuring the bill is on an easy path to becoming law.

It marks the second time in the new Congress that the Biden administration has signalled opposition to a Republican measure, rallying most Democrats in Congress to vote against it, only to soften its stance and let the legislation eventually become law.

Just weeks ago, Biden stunned many fellow Democrats when he declined to veto a Republican-led bill to upend a new criminal code for the District of Columbia he and others in the president's party opposed, allowing the GOP's tough-on-crime push into the local government to become law.

Republicans celebrated the turn of events Wednesday as a sign of their newfound influence in divided Washington, while Democrats quietly complained that the Biden administration had shifted its views.

But the White House stood firm, and the Senate gave final approval, 68-23, sending the bill to Biden's desk.

A White House official said that when the House Republicans were first preparing to vote on the bill at the start of the year, it would have lifted the national emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic in February.

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