USA TODAY International Edition

C’mon man! If the pandemic is over, end the emergency.

- Ingrid Jacques Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. You can contact her at ijacques@ usatoday. com or on Twitter: @ Ingrid_ Jacques

It’s no news flash when President Joe Biden speaks first and thinks later. But his comments over the weekend on “60 Minutes” deserve scrutiny.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how Biden and Democrats are living in a fantasy land, where the “Inflation Reduction Act” – a spending bill – would reduce inflation. And Biden has continued to double down on how there is “zero” inflation or, as he said Sunday on CBS News, “just an inch.”

All the while, inflation still hovers around 40- year- highs.

To hear Biden talk about it, however, he has solved the problem that continues to worry Americans most. Those prices facing consumers at the pump or grocery store? Nothing to fear.

Still over 350 COVID deaths a day

The president also pronounced – to the surprise of public health experts and others in his administra­tion – that the pandemic “is over.”

There are still more than 350 people a day in the United States dying from COVID, which hardly seems a success. And some doctors worry that by hearing Biden’s words, citizens might eschew the latest boosters and fail to take other preventive measures.

It’s not the first time Biden has prematurel­y declared victory over the pandemic. He did the same thing in July 2021, marking Independen­ce Day by proclaimin­g that America’s “closer than ever to declaring our independen­ce from a deadly virus.” That didn’t turn out to be the case at all.

Biden is clearly trying to score political points for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. What stood out most to me, though, is the hypocrisy.

He did mention Sunday that COVID- 19 is still “a problem,” but if the pandemic is truly over then Biden should also end the national and public health emergencie­s that have allowed expanded government action in the name of fighting the disease.

In February, Biden extended the national emergency, which lasts a year unless he ends it sooner. In his declaratio­n, he stated: “The COVID- 19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the Nation.”

These “emergencie­s” are what Biden has used to justify a Medicaid expansion, and it’s even the justification for his recent costly student debt “forgivenes­s” ploy for midterm votes.

Perpetual emergency and agenda

Staying in a perpetual emergency has allowed the Biden administra­tion to accomplish agenda items without the inconvenie­nce of having to go through Congress.

To be fair, former President Donald Trump also abused the declaratio­n of emergencie­s when he did so to make progress on building his border wall.

No matter who is in the White House, using emergencie­s for personal or party benefit goes against our constituti­onal separation of powers.

When Trump spoke mistruths or exaggerate­d, many were quick to jump all over him. Biden seems to get more of a free pass, but his reckless whoppers about the economy and the pandemic are too important to ignore.

As Biden would say, c’mon man.

 ?? ANDREW HARNIK/ AP FILE ?? President Joe Biden said on “60 Minutes” that the pandemic “is over,” but that declaratio­n worries some doctors.
ANDREW HARNIK/ AP FILE President Joe Biden said on “60 Minutes” that the pandemic “is over,” but that declaratio­n worries some doctors.
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