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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, both R-Wyo., joined Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and the entire Senate Republican Conference in sending a letter to President Biden urging the administration to withdraw support of two international agreements being considered at the World Health Assembly (WHA) this month.

These agreements would grant greater power to the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare public health emergencies and expand their authority over member states. In the letter, the senators argue that these regulations would risk U.S. sovereignty and highlight the organization’s failures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The senators call on President Biden to withdraw support and focus on reforms that would address the persistent failures of the WHO.

“The WHO's failure during the COVID-19 pandemic was as total as it was predictable and did lasting harm to our country. The United States cannot afford to ignore this latest WHO inability to perform its most basic function and must insist on comprehensive WHO reforms before even considering amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR)…” the senators wrote.

“We are deeply concerned that your administration continues to support these initiatives and strongly urge you to change course,” the senators continued. “Should you ignore this advice, we state in the strongest possible terms that we consider any such agreement to be a treaty requiring the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate under Article II Section 2 of the Constitution.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Dear Mr. President:

Next month, during the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA), your administration is
expected to commit the United States to two international agreements that would strengthen the World
Health Organization's (WHO) authority to declare public health emergencies of international concern and
expand the WHO's authority over member states during such emergencies. This is unacceptable.

The WHO's failure during the COVID-19 pandemic was as total as it was predictable and did
lasting harm to our country. The United States cannot afford to ignore this latest WHO inability to perform
its most basic function and must insist on comprehensive WHO reforms before even considering
amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) or any new pandemic related treaty that would
increase WHO authority. We are deeply concerned that your administration continues to support these
initiatives and strongly urge you to change course.

Article 55 of the IHR requires the text of any IHR amendment to be communicated to member
states at least four months before the WHA at which they are to be considered. As the WHO has still not
provided final amendment text to member states, we submit that IHR amendments may not be considered
at next month's WHA. Some of the over 300 proposals for amendments made by member states would
substantially increase the WHO's health emergency powers and constitute intolerable infringements upon
U.S. sovereignty. As such, it was essential that the WHO abide by the four-month notice period to allow
member states time to ensure that no traces of such proposals were included in a final amendment
package for consideration by the WHA. Having failed to do so, amendments are not in order.

The WHO's most recent publicly available draft of its new pandemic response treaty is dead on
arrival. Instead of addressing the WHO's well-documented shortcomings, the treaty focuses on mandated
resource and technology transfers, shredding intellectual property rights, infringing free speech, and
supercharging the WHO. Moving forward with a new pandemic preparedness and response treaty ignores
the fact that we are still unsure of COVID-l 9's origins because Beijing continues to block a legitimate
independent investigation. We strongly urge you not to join any pandemic related treaty, convention, or
agreement being considered at the Seventy-seventh WHA. Should you ignore this advice, we state in the
strongest possible terms that we consider any such agreement to be a treaty requiring the concurrence of
two-thirds of the Senate under Article II Section 2 of the Constitution.

In light of the high stakes for our country and our constitutional duty, we call upon you to (1) withdraw your administration's support for the current IHR amendments and pandemic treaty negotiations,
(2) shift your administration's focus to comprehensive WHO reforms that address its persistent failures
without expanding its authority, and (3) should you ignore these calls, submit any pandemic related
agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent.


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