The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a call for sovereign nations to relinquish some of their governance authority to a global body in order to combat various challenges, including health emergencies, climate change, and social and economic inequalities.
The WHO’s appeal comes shortly after House Republicans criticized President Joe Biden for negotiating America’s pandemic authority without congressional input.
On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers expressed their concerns about the Biden administration’s negotiations with the WHO, arguing that it would grant excessive power to the organization, which they believe failed to effectively respond to the pandemic.
In response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a report on Friday, suggesting that individual countries lack the necessary global framework to tackle various emergencies that may affect the world.
Tedros emphasized that the WHO’s mandate should extend beyond pandemics to encompass issues such as hunger, poverty, ecological degradation, climate change, and social and economic inequalities.
According to Tedros, member nations must establish a global architecture for health emergency preparedness, prevention, response, and resilience, which includes global governance, financing, and health emergency systems.
However, Republicans have voiced their opposition to the WHO’s proposal, stating that international law should not supersede the United States’ Constitution.
Representative Harriet Hageman (R-WY) emphasized that Americans cannot be compelled to follow laws and regulations that were not passed by their own federal government.
Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) expressed concerns about the vagueness of the WHO pandemic treaty, its impact on sovereignty, and the potential exploitation of the agreement in dictating healthcare decisions during a global pandemic.
The public forum was organized by Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) and included 18 House members.
Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto is currently representing the United States in negotiations for the WHO Pandemic Accord, with the agreement scheduled to be signed by the 194 member nations of the WHO in 2024. Amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHRs) are also being discussed under the auspices of the WHO.
The aim of these negotiations is to establish legally binding treaties and agreements that would facilitate a united response among member nations during health emergencies, with decision-making authority largely vested in the WHO.
Previous reports have highlighted that President Biden intends to push the agreement through 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 the WHO and national health authorities, such as the CDC, in setting health policies, as well as coordination among governments to combat misinformation.
Critics argue that granting the WHO more authority would be misguided, considering its recent failures, and that its authority should be reduced instead.
Representative Eric Burlison (R-MO) referred to the WHO as one of the most corrupt, incompetent, and discredited institutions globally, particularly 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 American funding to the organization. However, President Biden reversed this decision upon taking office and has since pursued the establishment of the WHO Pandemic Accord.
House Republicans are now calling for the United States to withdraw from the WHO once again, citing concerns about the undue influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) within the organization.
Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) referred to a report from the House Foreign Affairs Committee that accused the CCP of engaging in a cover-up during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the WHO’s alignment with CCP talking points.
This year, Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation to sever ties with the WHO, including the WHO Withdrawal Act which would end U.S. membership in the WHO. The No Taxpayer Funding for the World Health Organization Act would also end American taxpayers’ financial contributions to the WHO.
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