Is Joe Biden About to Give the World Health Organization Authority Over the US Government?
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The World Health Organization's 75th World Health Assembly is underway May 22-28 in Geneva, Switzerland and new amendments to the W.H.O.'s International Health Regulations are on the table.
There's widespread concern that amendments offered by the Biden Administration would hand over U.S. national sovereignty on matters of health to the W.H.O.
The 13 pages of amendments certainly look as if they grant the W.H.O. the right to tell the U.S. what to do in a pandemic.
They would allow the W.H.O. to declare a health emergency in the United States, require the U.S. to report an international "Compliance Committee" on whether it was obeying W.H.O. directives, and would create an enforcement mechanism to essentially punish nations that don't follow the W.H.O.'s directives.
Mat Staver, founder, and chairman of the Liberty Counsel said, "And that would mean whether it's social distancing, whether businesses are essential or not, whether churches are essential, lockdowns, different kinds of treatment, all of that would be under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of an international body and no longer under the United States of America.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), ranking member of the House Global Health subcommittee, called it "an egregious breach of constitutional principle."
Adding to suspicion about the amendments is that they were sent to the W.H.O. in January, apparently without a public announcement, and were only discovered online last month.
The amendments are certainly worded in a way that would seem to give the W.H.O. authority over the U.S. government, but how much teeth would they actually have?
W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has branded claims that the amendments are a power grab, "distorted" and "disinformation," saying the W.H.O. could not override the sovereignty of member nations.
"W.H.O. is an expression of member states' own sovereignty and W.H.O. is entirely what the sovereign 194 member states want W.H.O. to be," Tedros said.
A Georgetown University law professor who helped write the International Health Regulations that the Bush White House signed onto in 2005, Lawrence Gostin, said that the W.H.O. only has the power to make recommendations. "It could not force a country to allow W.H.O. staff to interfere with its public health decision making," Gostin said.
Travis Weber, Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at the Family Research Council says while the amendments are disturbing, even if the International Health Regulations had the force of a treaty, which they do not, the U.S. Constitution would have the final say and not the W.H.O.
"That means even with a treaty that we are party to that the Senate has given advice and consent to, it does not trump the constitution, even in the case of a treaty. It's similar to a statute to passed by Congress in its level of authority," Weber told CBN News, "The Constitution still trumps that."
And a new report says the amendments are now not expected to even be decided on this week.
There is, however, concern the amendments could be incorporated into a new global pandemic treaty, which the W.H.O. has been calling for.
Republican Senators Steve Daines and Tom Cotton sent a letter to the White House Friday, calling for the U.S to leave the W.H.O. again as it did under President Trump, saying the World Health Organization "absolutely cannot be trusted with more power."
It's clear from several of the W.H.O.'s own statements that it wants more power to fight future pandemics. What's not clear is if the proposed amendments would grant it the power some say it will.
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