The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for sovereign nations to cede some of their governing authority to a global body to combat a range of challenges including health emergencies, climate change and social and economic inequalities .
The WHO appeal comes shortly after House Republicans criticized President Joe Biden for negotiating the United States’ pandemic authority without input from Congress.
On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers expressed concern about the Biden administration’s negotiations with the WHO, arguing that it would give too much power to the organization, which they believe has failed to respond effectively to the pandemic.
In response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a report on Friday suggesting that individual countries lack the global framework needed to deal with various emergencies that could affect the world.
Tedros stressed that the WHO’s mandate should be extended beyond pandemics to include issues such as hunger, poverty, ecological degradation, climate change and social and economic inequalities.
According to Tedros, member countries must establish a global architecture for health emergency preparedness, prevention, response and resilience, including governance, financing and global health emergency systems.
However, Republicans have voiced their opposition to the WHO proposal, saying that international law should not supersede the US Constitution.
Representative Harriet Hageman (R-WY) emphasized that Americans cannot be forced to follow laws and regulations that have not been approved by their own federal government.
Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) expressed concern about the vagueness of the WHO pandemic treaty, its impact on sovereignty and the possible exploitation of the agreement to dictate health decisions during a global pandemic.
The public forum was hosted by Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) and included 18 members of the House.
Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto currently represents the United States in the negotiations for the WHO Pandemic Agreement, with the agreement scheduled to be signed by all 194 WHO member countries in 2024. Also being discussing amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) under the auspices of the WHO.
The goal of these negotiations is to establish legally binding treaties and agreements that facilitate a united response among member nations during health emergencies, with decision-making authority largely vested in WHO.
Previous reports have indicated that President Biden intends to push through the deal without congressional votes, bypassing Congress.
Under the agreements, the WHO would have the authority to declare a pandemic and coordinate the distribution of medical supplies equitably among member nations.
The agreements also emphasize global coordination between WHO and national health authorities, such as the CDC, in setting health policies, as well as coordination among governments to combat disinformation.
Critics argue that giving the WHO more authority would be wrong, given its recent failures, and that its authority should be reduced.
Representative Eric Burlison (R-MO) referred to the WHO as one of the most corrupt, incompetent and discredited institutions in the world, especially in light of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the WHO on July 6, 2020, halting US funding to the organization. However, President Biden reversed that decision upon taking office and has since pursued the establishment of the WHO pandemic agreement.
House Republicans are now calling for the US to withdraw from the WHO once again, citing concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) undue influence within the organization.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) referred to a House Foreign Affairs Committee report accusing the CCP of engaging in a cover-up during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the alignment of the WHO with the discussion points of the PCC.
This year, Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation to sever ties with the WHO, including the WHO Withdrawal Act that would end US membership in the WHO. The No Taxpayer Funding for the World Health Organization Act would also end financial contributions from American taxpayers to the WHO.
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