GOP congressman claims 'national emergency is over' with less than 40% of US vaccinated

256

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) falsely claimed most Americans are already vaccinated.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) has decided the coronavirus pandemic is over. His reasoning: a false claim that most Americans are already fully inoculated.

"The majority of Americans are vaccinated with hospitalization rates at the lowest point in over a year," Rosendale claimed on Monday in a since-deleted tweet. "The national emergency is over. It's time for Congress to step up and vote to rescind the National Emergency Act."

He shared a video of an appearance on a right-wing TV network in which he argued, "It's time now for Congress to step back and take a vote" on rescinding the national emergency.

Rosendale complained that the emergency declared under Donald Trump in March 2020 has been in place for "quite some time" and gives the president "broad powers for spending and some of these mandates that have been taking place."

Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, the president may temporarily exercise powers to suspend certain rules and repurpose some funds. Biden has used the powers to allow more flexibility in the public health response to the pandemic, such as waivers on using telemedicine and seeing patients outside of regular settings to prevent the spread of the virus.

Contrary to Rosendale's claim, as of Monday just 39.3% of Americans were fully vaccinated, and 49.4% have received at least one dose, according to the Washington Post's tracker.

While more than 61% of adults have received at least one dose, only 49.8% of those 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House expects 50% of adults will be completely vaccinated as of Tuesday.

Under the Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available to Americans ages 12 and up, while the Modern and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for adults only. No immunization is currently available for anyone under age 12, leaving millions of Americans still unprotected.

While Rosendale is correct that the number of hospitalizations has declined significantly since Donald Trump left office in January, thousands of Americans are still being admitted for treatment for COVID-19 each day. The number of daily new cases has also declined significantly, but an average of more than 20,000 people are still testing positive in the United States each day.

Still, Rosendale and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced a resolution in the House on May 21 to declare the emergency over. Republican Reps. Thomas Massie (KY), Brian Mast (FL), Ralph Norman (SC), Chip Roy (TX), and Randy Weber (TX) are co-sponsors.

"Time to end this long national emergency and get life back to normal; me and @RepRosendale bringing it," Gosar tweeted.

"Too often, government policy and basic reality don't align. The vaccine is here, it is available, and the emergency is over, but on paper, the emergency continues," Rosendale told the right-wing Daily Caller last week.

"It's time for the Congress to step up as a [sic] equal branch of government, make the paper match up with the facts, and vote formally to end the emergency powers that have impeded the freedoms of so many Americans in the name of fighting the pandemic," he added.

Under House rules, the sponsors of the resolution can force a vote on it in a few weeks. But with no Democratic co-sponsors, it is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.