Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga., told Newsmax on Thursday the reason it is taking so long for President Joe Biden to end the federal COVID-19 emergency declarations stems from two familiar issues in politics: money and power.
The Biden administration announced Monday the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies, first established during the Trump administration, will end May 11, even though both were scheduled to end March 1 and April 11, respectively. Still, this announcement comes five months after Biden said in September in a "60 Minutes" interview, "the pandemic is over."
"There's a lot of money still unspent on this," McCormick told "American Agenda." "Most of it had nothing to do with COVID, but once you end the emergency, that money pot goes away, and that money really buys influence.
"Also, as soon as that emergency goes away, you lose your emergency powers. When do you ever see a government official willingly give up power? I think that's why we're prolonging this because nobody wants to give up their ability to call the shots, and the president using the idea of an emergency gets to basically subvert congressional authority."
McCormick said trying to subvert Congress through means such as emergency declarations is one of the biggest problems the federal government faces.
"It's not the way our design was for government," he said. "... We want to spread authority over bodies, not just one person. We're not a monarchy, we're not Communists. We really believe in representative government."
The administration said in a statement Monday through the Office of Management and Budget that it set May 11 because "this wind-down would align with the administration's previous commitments to give at least 60 days' notice prior to termination of the [public health emergency]."
The end of the emergency declarations would end programs that allowed many Americans to get coronavirus tests, treatments, and vaccines at no charge.
"First of all, realize that every time they say free, they mean provided by the government, which means provided by the taxpayer or by our debt," McCormick said. "Secondly, I think we're well past that right now. We need to make sure we empower people to make their own decisions. That's what this whole fight in government is all about. Who has the authority to make choices in your life, is it you or the government? Who has the authority morally, economically? I believe [it's] the people."
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