Exclusive: Rep. Tom Tiffany Presents Bill to Block Biden from Unilateral Approval of W.H.O. Pandemic Treaty

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) introduced a bill on Tuesday, co-sponsored by 14 Republicans in the House of Representatives, that would ensure the White House must recognize any World Health Organization (W.H.O.) binding international instrument on pandemics as a treaty, thus requiring Senate approval.

The administration of far-left President Joe Biden is currently participating in global deliberations as part of the W.H.O.’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) on drafting a “pandemic accord” which would enforce international legal responsibilities on its members to help address any future pandemics in a better way than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – originating in Wuhan, China – was initially handled.

The INB held its most recent meeting last week; during those deliberations, Biden envoy Pamela Hamamoto insisted that the White House was “committed to the Pandemic Accord” as an enduring binding instrument “for generations to come.”

The INB negotiations are extremely preliminary, but a draft agreement exists. The state members of the INB have not yet agreed on what, exactly, the instrument should be, so its current iteration is officially titled the “W.H.O. Convention, Agreement or Other International Instrument on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response,” or “WHO CA+”.

As per the American Constitution, treaties – binding agreements with foreign states – have the maximum legal authority in the United States, described in the document as “the supreme Law of the Land.” Given their power, two-thirds of the Senate must approve a treaty before the U.S. government can ratify it. Past presidents have avoided this requirement, particularly when an opposing political party controls the Senate, by using terms such as “executive agreement” or other phrases to describe international agreements.

The two most prominent international policies of the administration of leftist President Barack Obama – admission into the Paris climate agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) – thus gained legal force without Senate approval despite clearly binding America to international commitments, as a treaty would.

Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, boards an air force plane wearing a mask on his way to the World Health Organization in Geneva. The minister made clear Germany’s support for enforcing the planned W.H.O. pandemic treaty. (Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty)

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,” the Obama State Department insisted in a 2015 letter.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from both the Paris climate accord and the JCPOA. Trump, who is currently running for president, vowed this week to withdraw America from the W.H.O. if he returns to the White House, as he did during his 2016-2020 term.

To prevent Biden from attempting to similarly avoid Senate consent by referring to a future W.H.O. pandemic accord as something other than a treaty, Rep. Tiffany’s bill would mandate that any such document be recognized as a treaty.

“[A]ny convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response reached by the World Health Assembly[‘s] … International Negotiating Body,” the text of the bill, obtained by Breitbart News, reads, “is deemed to be a treaty … require[ing] the advice and consent of the Senate, with two-thirds of Senators concurring.”

The bill highlights the W.H.O.’s poor track record in response to the ongoing health emergency as reason to address any major international legal document from the agency regarding pandemics with caution. Among the W.H.O.’s more egregious errors, as highlighted in the bill, were “unjustified delays informing member states about a potentially serious disease outbreak in Wuhan, China” and “grossly inaccurate or misleading claims about the transmissibility of the virus and about the Government of China’s handling of the outbreak.”

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the W.H.O. announced on Twitter on January 14, 2020.

On December 31, 2019, the government of Taiwan notified the W.H.O. that it had reason to believe an infectious disease was spreading in Wuhan. The agency “mostly ignored our messages and never shared information as they do to other countries,” Taiwan’s representative office in America told Breitbart News in March of that year.

Tiffany’s bill states that “Congress strongly prefers that any agreement related to pandemic prevention … be considered a treaty requiring the advice and consent of the Senate, with two-thirds of Senators concurring,” but implements a safeguard that triggers the two-thirds requirement even if the White House attempts to consider it a different kind of legal document with similar binding powers.

“The United Nations-linked World Health Organization is a corrupt organization that President Trump got us out of, but President Biden disgracefully rejoined,” Rep. Tiffany said on Tuesday, introducing the bill.

“The United States should be in charge of our own pandemic policy; we should never outsource that power to an international bureaucracy that behaves like a puppet of Communist China,” he continued. “This legislation puts congressional oversight and transparency into what otherwise could be bad medicine for America’s public health.”

Co-sponsoring the bill are 14 Republicans: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Erin Houchin (R-IN), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Mary Miller (R-IL), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Chip Roy (R-TX), Keith Self (R-TX), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Bryan Steil (R-WI), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY).

In the Senate, a group of 41 Republicans are cosponsoring identical legislation, introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

“The W.H.O., along with our federal health agencies, failed miserably in their response to COVID-19,” Sen. Johnson said on Tuesday. “This failure should not be rewarded with a new international treaty that would increase the W.H.O.’s power at the expense of American sovereignty.”

File/European Council President Charles Michel and W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus hold a live joint press conference on March 30, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. Michel and Ghebreyesus outlined an international pandemic treaty during the presser. (OM/EU Pool/Getty Images)

“The United States is committed to the Pandemic Accord, to form a major component of the global health architecture for generations to come,” Hamamoto, Biden’s representative at the INB, said during a meeting of that body last week. “Shared commitment, shared aspirations and shared responsibilities will vastly improve our system for preventing, preparing for, and responding to future pandemic emergencies.”

Speaking during a virtual press conference on Friday, the director-general of the W.H.O., Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he “hoped” the INB would come up with an agreement all parties approve of by May 2024 – which would still be withing Biden’s first presidential term.

“I don’t think we will forgive ourselves and I don’t think our children or grandchildren will forgive us if we don’t have a pandemic agreement which helps to address the mistakes we have made during this one,” Tedros said. “Of course, there will be heated debates, disagreements, but at the end of the day I hope there will be a balancing act that will bring all Member States to a successful conclusion and have an agreement and IHR document that will help us to address all the challenges and mistakes we faced during this pandemic.”

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