Attorney General Skrmetti Calls on Congress to Rein in the Biden Administration’s Emergency Covid Powers
Nashville- Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti joined a coalition of 15 state attorneys general in calling on Congressional leaders to end President Biden’s Administration’s continued use of pandemic emergency powers.
Though President Biden himself has declared that “the pandemic is over,” his Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to rely on emergency use authorizations to press novel COVID vaccines on young people.
“The idea that we remain in the midst of a medical emergency is contrary to the facts,” Press Secretary Elizabeth Lane said. “It is an overreach of power at the expense of freedom for HHS and FDA to continue to perpetrate the myth that an emergency exists.”
The attorneys general wrote, “[HHS and FDA] continue to rely on emergency powers to justify numerous uses of novel vaccines that are not only failing to halt the transmission of COVID, but are also exposing young people (who are least likely to be harmed by COVID) to unnecessary risks.”
The letter explains that when emergency authorization was granted two years ago to distribute the newly developed vaccines, that authorization inherently considered the voluntary nature of the vaccine and the understanding that though the potential risks were not fully known, the benefits were believed to outweigh the risks for the most vulnerable population. Since then, much has changed.
The letter details concern over the FDA’s continued reliance on emergency powers to authorize new COVID vaccine uses, especially for children. “If considered today, the vaccines likely would not pass the threshold question of whether the HHS secretary could authorize them for use,” the letter states. As recently as last month, FDA is still invoking its emergency use authorization authority to push vaccines out to infants.
The coalition is also calling on Congress to consider reforming the PREP Act, which provides “exceptionally broad liability protections,” related to vaccines and other “covered countermeasures” under emergency declarations by the HHS Secretary.
The letter was led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. General Skrmetti signed on in addition to state attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
Read the letter in its entirety here.