WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined Republican Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), and Congresswoman Laurel Lee (R-Fla.) at Tuesday’s leadership press conference to discuss how President Biden caved to House Republicans and announced he will end the COVID-19 National and Public Health Emergencies. Leader Scalise called out President Biden for waiting until May to end these emergencies and highlighted how House Republicans will be voting on legislation this week that will stop pandemic era restrictions. Leader Scalise pointed out that if the American people are expected to show up to work, federal employees should be held to the same standard. Additionally, Leader Scalise slammed the Biden Administration for punishing health care workers by forcing them to choose between getting the COVID-19 vaccine or losing their job.
On President Biden announcing that he would end the COVID-19 National and Public Health Emergencies:
“This week, we have a busy schedule on the House Floor focusing on getting America back on track. And I think if you look around the country – our great new member, [Congresswoman] Lee, talked about this – there are many states that have already said, ‘We’re dealing with COVID, but we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to open things back up again. We’ve got to get kids back in school again, learning.’ Because we know that data is very clear: They weren’t learning when schools were shut down. We saw so many problems [created] by all of the shutdowns. And yet, here in Washington, President Biden has still been operating under both the National Emergency and the COVID [Public Health] Emergency. And a long time ago, they should have ended. “And as Republicans, [when] we ran, we said we would end these emergency declarations to open the country back up again. And so last week, when we announced that we would bring these two pieces of legislation to vote and the National Emergency as well as the COVID [Public Health] Emergency, a lot of Democrats started scrambling because they know that in their states, these are causing major problems. And in fact, it also triggers these emergencies. [It] triggers billions of dollars a month in Washington spending that has nothing to do with COVID but is hiding behind the guise of COVID. And there are some that still want to spend those billions of dollars wastefully instead of saving those and giving that back to the American people. “And so, as we put it out there, clearly it caused some dilemmas amongst Democrats who are putting pressure on the White House. And finally, because, as the Whip pointed out, we announced this last week, the White House yesterday finally said they will end these public health emergencies. “The problem is the President said he’s going to wait until May. Well, Mr. President, if you know it’s the right thing to do, don’t wait until May. Let’s open our country back up again. Get our economy back up again. Let these families get their lives moving forward. And so we’re going to continue to move this legislation. Hopefully, we see an overwhelming bipartisan vote for them both because they would take effect immediately. So we’re bringing those forward.” On the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act: “We’re also bringing the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act. You know, at the beginning of COVID, all of us rightfully were applauding our frontline heroes. We were applauding all those health care workers who were showing up [to treat] COVID patients. And then you saw this administration, while they started applauding them, ultimately, they said that they would have to be fired if they didn’t get the COVID vaccine. And thousands of health care workers were forced to lose their jobs over that vaccine mandate. That wasn’t even a law. It was a ruling that came out of CMS. And so we are bringing forward his legislation to end that. “Let’s get those health care workers back to work. Let’s continue to applaud them as the heroes that they are, not try to shame them or terminate their careers because they didn’t get vaccinated [for] COVID.” On the SHOW UP Act: “Obviously, with the other pieces of legislation to end the declaration of the pandemic, we are also bringing up the SHOW Up Act. Millions of Americans have already gone back to work. Americans show up every day to work. Washington shouldn’t be the last place to get back to work, it should have been the first. But yet, as we see today, at many agencies, more than half of their federal workers are not showing up to work, and it’s hurting families back home across America. “I know a lot of us get [calls] from constituents that are complaining about this every day, [telling] us that this process is broken. I get calls from veterans [who still] can’t get the proper Veterans Affairs benefits. These are people who served our country, risked their lives for our freedoms, and they can’t even get their paperwork processed because they might need records, and somebody at home is not able to get access to those records because they’re not showing up for work. Our veterans showed up for work. Those employees at the federal level need to show up for work to help give them their benefits. “There are still millions of taxpayers across the country in 2023 who still haven’t gotten their IRS return from 2021 because IRS agents aren’t showing up to work. This needs to end. People are waiting on passports for more than six months at a time because you can’t process a passport remotely from home. You need to show up at work. Families expect the federal government to do their jobs and work for them. They’re surely collecting their paychecks. It’s long past time that they show up for work, as well.” On Congresswoman Salazar’s resolution that denounces socialism: “So we’re bringing all of these bills, as well as a bill to denounce the horrors of socialism. [Congresswoman] Salazar, who is the author of the bill, has seen it herself. You talk about atrocities we’ve seen from totalitarian dictatorships. Over 100 million people worldwide have lost their lives to the horrors of socialism, and it’s about time Congress stands up and denounces it. I encourage all my Democrat colleagues to join us in voting for that piece of legislation, as well.”