The Problem Solvers Caucus is backing legislation in the House that would extend Title 42 -- the latest sign of bipartisan pushback against the Biden administration’s plans to end the public health order in May.
The Biden administration announced earlier this month that it will end the order on May 23, a measure that has been used since March 2020 to quickly remove a majority of migrants encountered at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with growing fears that the already massive border numbers will only accelerate if the order is lifted, a number of moderate Democrats have joined with Republicans in pushing the administration to delay its move.
The 58-member caucus has backed the legislation, authored by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, and Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, that would bar President Biden from lifting the order until 60 days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has formally ended the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. Per caucus by-laws, all 58 members will support the legislation on the House floor.
The Department of Health and Human Services along with the Department of Homeland Security and other impacted agencies would need to submit a report to Congress within 30 days of the announcement ending the public health emergency, with a plan showing how the administration will address the coming migrant surge. If a plan is not submitted within that time frame, lifting Title 42 is automatically delayed another 30 days until a report is submitted.
Sponsors on the House bill include Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H.
It is accompanied by companion legislation that was introduced in the Senate earlier this month. Sponsors on that bill include not only Republicans such as Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, but also a number of Democrats: Sens Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
Many of those Democrats have already spoken out against the lifting of the order.
"I warned the administration about this months and months ago, and they still don't have an adequate plan," Sen. Kelly told Fox News Digital last week. "They say they are working on it. My guess is that we’ll get to May 23, there probably is not going to be an adequate plan in place and, if that's the case, I don't think we should lift Title 42."
The bill comes as a number of Republican states are also pushing forward with legal action to attempt to stop the lifting of the order, and there are reports that the White House is considering extending the order.
Meanwhile, there were more than 221,000 migrant encounters in March alone, and that number is expected to rise further in April.