Joey went off the rails. You can tell the pressure is getting to him.
On January 31, 2023, President Joe Biden stumbled when asked about his plan to end the COVID-19 emergency declarations. Biden initially incorrectly stated that the emergency would end on May 15th, when in reality, the White House had announced on Monday that the emergency would end on May 11th. He also mentioned the Supreme Court when answering the question, leaving many to speculate what he meant and why he mentioned the highest court in the land.
It turns out that two pandemic-era policies are currently in the hands of the Supreme Court: Title 42 and student loan forgiveness. In late December of 2020, the court ruled to keep the Title 42 restrictions, which allowed border agents to turn away migrants at the southern border due to COVID-19, in place indefinitely. The court has yet to issue a final ruling on the matter.
The Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan is also currently awaiting a final ruling from the Supreme Court. There are two cases expected to be heard by the court; oral arguments for both cases are expected to begin on February 28th. A final ruling is not expected until May or June.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced on Monday that they would file one last extension of the national and public health emergency declarations on April 11th, then end both on May 11th. This wind-down aligns with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.
It is unclear why Biden mentioned the Supreme Court in his response to the question. However, with the future of two important pandemic-era policies in the hands of the Supreme Court, it is possible that Biden wanted to emphasize that the court will ultimately have a say in the end of the emergency declarations.
The interaction was truly bizarre and Republican Senator Mike Lee had some good questions.
The COVID emergency will “end when the Supreme Court ends it.” What!? Since when is that the standard for ending a declared emergency? And did he not announce yesterday that he would be ending it on May 11th? https://t.co/qaOf5PqpUl
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) January 31, 2023