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Will Biden enter pandemic treaty requiring 20% of supplies go to WHO?

Feb 7

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is creating a treaty to prepare for the next pandemic which would be legally binding for all countries that agree to it. The treaty has been through many drafts, but a final version could be released just ahead of the World Health Assembly on May 27 when members hope to have a final vote.

However, two Republican congressmen contend the treaty requires the U.S. to provide too many resources and puts extreme requirements on the U.S. health care system. 

“The United States should be setting the gold standard for approval,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said. “Incentivizing best practices and doing everything we can to ensure that an organization like the WHO listens to American interests as well.”

“Binding international covenants, treaties or agreements and the legal obligations imposed on nations require serious and comprehensive analysis.,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said. 

According to a draft of the treaty, it would require countries to provide a minimum of 20% of their production of safe, efficacious and effective pandemic-related products, including diagnostics, vaccines, personal protective equipment and therapeutics. The requirement aims to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

Article 10 states all countries have the “sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health.” But the article later adds, “provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to their peoples and other countries.”

The WHO said the treaty has four main goals:

  • Build resilience to pandemics.
  • Support prevention, detection, and responses to outbreaks with pandemic potential.
  • Ensure equitable access to pandemic countermeasures.
  • Support global coordination through a stronger and more accountable WHO.

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed the world that the World Health Organization is not the preeminent global health institution that perhaps it once was,” Wenstrup said. “To me, the WHO should be there to benefit all of humankind and should not be influenced outside it should be agnostic of all politics.”

President Biden could present it to the Senate for advice and consent, which would require a two-thirds vote. Or, he could enter an “executive agreement,” which does not require congressional approval. Either way, it would be considered legally binding. It’s unclear if Biden plans to join the agreement.

Straight Arrow News asked the White House for comment but has not heard back as of Feb. 7.

“Bypassing Senate ratification would be an egregious mistake,” Smith said

Bypassing Congress isn’t new. President Obama bypassed Congress to enter the Paris Climate Accord. Perhaps the most famous executive agreement came in July 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Britain 50 Navy destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on British naval bases. In January 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act.

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[RAY BOGAN]
The World Health Organization is creating a treaty to prepare for the next pandemic which would be legally binding for all countries that agree to it. The treaty has been through many drafts, but a final version could be released just ahead of the World Health Assembly on May 27 when they hope to have a final vote. 

But two Republican Congressmen contend it requires the US to provide too many resources, and puts extreme requirements on the US healthcare system. 

[Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio]

“The United States should be setting the gold standard for approval,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said. “Incentivizing best practices and doing everything we can to ensure that an organization like the WHO listens to American interests as well.”

[Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ.]

“Binding international covenants, treaties or agreements and the legal obligations imposed on nations require serious and comprehensive analysis.,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ., said. 

[RAY BOGAN]

According to a draft of the treaty, it would require countries to provide a minimum of 20% of their production of safe, efficacious and effective pandemic-related products – including diagnostics, vaccines, personal protective equipment and therapeutics, to enable equitable distribution. 

Article 10 states all countries have the, “sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health”, but  later adds, “provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to their peoples and other countries.”

The WHO said the treaty has four main goals:

  • build resilience to pandemics;
  • support prevention, detection, and responses to outbreaks with pandemic potential;
  • ensure equitable access to pandemic countermeasures; and
  • support global coordination through a stronger and more accountable WHO.

[Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio]

“The COVID 19 pandemic showed the world that the World Health Organization is not the preeminent global health institution that perhaps it once was,” Wenstrup said. “To me, the WHO should be there to benefit all of humankind and should not be influenced outside it should be agnostic of all politics.”  

President Biden could present it to the Senate for advice and consent which requires a two-thirds vote. Or he could enter what’s called an executive agreement which does not require Congressional approval. Either way, it would be considered legally binding. It’s unclear if President Biden plans to join the agreement or how. SAN asked the White House directly but has not heard back. 

[Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ.]

“Bypassing Senate ratification would be an egregious mistake,” Smith said. 

[RAY BOGAN]

Bypassing Congress has been done before. That’s how President Obama entered the Paris Climate accord. Perhaps the most famous executive agreement came in July 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Britain 50 Navy destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on British Naval bases. In January 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act.