WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has joined Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and 13 other Senate Republican colleagues in introducing a resolution that will ensure the president does not cede U.S. sovereignty to entities like the World Health Organization (WHO) by ratifying international pandemic agreements without Senate approval.
“The WHO is alarmingly close to the Chinese Communist Party and botched its response to the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China,” said Senator Hagerty. “Just this week, I demanded assurances from Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Biden’s nominee to the WHO’s executive board, that he would not enter any agreement that cedes American sovereignty to the WHO, a compromised international organization that the Biden Administration imprudently rejoined without any conditions or demands for reform.”
“The United States is a sovereign nation that cannot cede power to the deeply-flawed World Health Organization for any future health emergency,” said Senator Risch. “The WHO failed to hold China accountable for the global spread of COVID-19, which killed over 1 million Americans and thousands of Idahoans. Giving it power over any future health emergency affecting the U.S. would be a disaster with potentially deadly consequences. This resolution makes clear the Senate must approve an international agreement – in any form – that requires new or expanded legal obligations in the U.S.”
The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of the WHO. Following a decision by the WHA during its special session in December 2021, an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) was formed to draft an international agreement to strengthen international pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. The INB has developed a working draft for further negotiation, and is expected to deliver a final agreement by May 2024.
In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier this week, Hagerty sounded the alarm on a new draft agreement that the Biden Administration is negotiating on global pandemic response that could give the WHO greater control over America’s policy response to a future pandemic—and thus cede American sovereignty. Hagerty pressed Dr. Vivek Murthy, nominee to be U.S. Representative on the Executive Board of the WHO, to commit not to participate in any effort to enter into an international agreement that would give the WHO greater control over future American pandemic responses if confirmed. After Dr. Vivek vowed to Hagerty that he would protect American sovereignty in any future international pandemic response agreement, Hagerty promised to hold him to that vow.
Full text of the resolution can be found here.