Last week, U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.-08) joined Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.-05) and more than 70 House Republicans on a letter urging President Joe Biden and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to accept that COVID-19 has become endemic, recognize that current heavy-handed government interventions are doing more harm than good, and immediately begin the process to unwind the Public Health Emergency so our country can get back to normal.
Key excerpts from theHouse GOP members, including actions they are urging the Biden administration to take:
“It is time for your administration to abandon its overbearing and authoritarian approach and show the country that the COVID-19 emergency is over.”
“We recognize that the PHE cannot end overnight, and that certain actions must be taken to avoid significant disruption to patients and health care providers, including working with Congress to extend certain policies like maintaining access to telehealth services for our nation’s seniors.A plan and concrete timelines to exit the PHE are long overdue, and it is time for you to take the necessary steps to begin immediately identifying and addressingall ofthe emergency measures and regulatory flexibilities enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)... that need to be phased out or made permanent before the PHE is ended.It is long-past time your administration show leadership in moving us to pre-pandemic life.”
“While you begin these steps to unwind the PHE, we call on you to take swift action to lift all vaccine mandates, which have not stopped the spread of COVID-19, but have alienated many Americans and have caused staff shortages at hospitals and other health care facilities; lift all mask mandates and the federal guidancethat forces children to wear masks in schools and day care facilities (these are based on faulty data and are used in many Democratic-led jurisdictions to justify such mandates); and insist that schools fully open so children can learn in-person.Americans, especially children, are in crisis.Instead of keeping us in a permanent state of emergency, it is time for this administration put people first and stop clinging to powers you currently enjoy under the PHE.”
On the harms of failed pro-lockdown government policies:“So many Americans have lost their businesses and jobs, far too many children have been left behind in school, while some remain locked out of their classrooms, and there has been a concerning spike in mental health issues and drug overdoses.In 2021, drug overdose deaths increased 28 percent to over 100,000 and, notably, fentanyl overdose became the leading cause of death in 18- to 45-year-olds, followed by suicide.”
On the harms on children:“School closures left students months behind in math andreading andsignificantly reduced their future earning capacity. There have also been troubling spikes in mental health visits for children, particularly young women. In fact, during February 21 through March 20, 2021, suspected suicide attempt emergency department visits “were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12-17 years than during the same period in 2019.”
On following the lead of Republican-led states:“Unfortunately, some state and local governments will continue to impose failed, restrictive policiesas long asthe federal PHE remains in effect, which sends the message that the country is still in a crisis that requires emergency powers.Thankfully, states are beginning to move in different direction.Just this week, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut finally followed Republican-led states and began removing various masking mandates, but much more work needs to be done, especially where masks are still be required for children in schools.Many other states have completely returned to normal with no significant negative impact on public health, and other countries around the world have done the same."
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