Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is questioning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to continue the pandemic healthy emergency allowing House members to vote remotely, despite President Joe Biden declaring it over during a nationally televised interview last week.
"Even Biden admits the pandemic is over, but Pelosi, D-Calif., is still using it as an excuse to allow members to avoid showing up to vote," Haley posted on Twitter Monday. "If we can get back to work, Congress can too."
In a letter to House members on Friday, Pelosi said that on the advice of the Office of the Attending Physician, she was extending the pandemic emergency measures through Nov. 10, the Thursday following the midterm elections.
"In light of the attached notification by the Sergeant-at-Arms, in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, that a public health emergency is in effect due to a novel coronavirus, I am hereby extending the "covered period" designated on Jan. 4, 2021, pursuant to section 3(s) of House Resolution 8, until Nov. 10, 2022," Pelosi wrote.
House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker advised Pelosi in a Sept. 19 letter to extend the emergency, saying, "I write to provide you further notification that the public health emergency due to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 remains in effect."
The letter came a day after Biden appeared on the CBS News program "60 Minutes" and declared "the pandemic is over."
"The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lotta work on it. ... But the pandemic is over," Biden said during the interview with CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley as the two walked through an auto show in Detroit Michigan, the first held in three years since the start of the pandemic. "If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so, I think it's changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it."
Earlier in the month, however, White House to COVID-19 official, Dr. Ashish Jha, told reporters during a Sept. 6 press briefing that the pandemic was a continuing issue.
"The pandemic isn't over. And we will remain vigilant, and of course, we continue to look for and prepare for unforeseen twists and turns," he said at the time. "But this week marks an important shift in our fight against the virus. It marks our ability to make COVID vaccines a more routine part of our lives as we continue to drive down serious illness and deaths and protect Americans heading into the fall and winter."
He said that Americans are now moving to a place where there will be an annual vaccine against the disease.
"So, barring any new variant curveballs — we've seen curveballs — but barring those variant curveballs, for a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high degree of protection against serious illness all year," he said. "That's an important milestone."
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