By Guy Page
Neither Sen. Bernie Sanders nor then-Sen. Patrick Leahy helped co-sponsor a Senate bill aimed at stopping a proposed World Health Organization pandemic treaty that critics say threatens the national sovereignty of all signers, including the United States.
The WHO is discussing the ‘zero draft’ today, the first day of a scheduled week-long meeting. A positive recommendation is expected, the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body said today. Deliberations can be seen in this live stream.
“You asked us to be bold, and that is what we have done,” the vice-chair said. Vice-Chair Roland Driece of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body said today.
The treaty commits member states to follow WHO pandemic protocols in its public health policies and practices. The treaty allows member states to withdraw at any time.
S4343, introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), “establishes that any convention or agreement on pandemic-related issues reached by the World Health Assembly (WHA) pursuant to a specified negotiating body shall be deemed to be a treaty requiring the advice and consent of the Senate,” according to Congress.gov.
Specifically, this bill applies to any international instrument negotiated by the intergovernmental negotiating body established by the WHA in December 2021 to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, Congress.gov said.
Co-sponsor Thom Tillis (R-NC) said the legislation would require any convention or agreement resulting from the work of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) intergovernmental negotiating body be deemed a treaty, requiring the advice and consent of a supermajority of the Senate. The legislation comes as the WHO continues to move the pandemic treaty process forward and is expected to formally present a draft to member states later this month.
Critics are concerned that the proposed treaty could be enacted by President Biden, at least on a provisional basis, without the ⅔ Senate approval required by the U.S. Constitution for treaty ratification. Sen. Patrick Leahy at Davos last year assured the treaty wouldn’t be enacted without Senate approval.
“After the Biden Administration’s failed COVID-19 response and the WHO’s mismanagement of the pandemic, Americans remain skeptical of continuing infringements on personal liberties and freedoms. The legislation would provide more transparency in WHO agreements and a constitutional check on the administration,” Tillis said.
“The World Health Organization should never have a say in how America handles a response to any crisis, health or otherwise,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation makes that clear to the Biden Administration and WHO bureaucrats who have continuously refused to hold Communist China accountable for its role in covering up and exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic.”