Republicans nationwide are tearing into President Joe Biden on Thursday after he announced he’d use an emergency order to force businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing.
‘Forcing this and coercing people, I don’t think is the right decision. I’d imagine that you’re gonna see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action,’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs revealed he would try to block the measure in Congress.
‘I will be introducing legislation to block this egregious assault on Americans’ freedom and liberty,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘We must fight against these attempts to force vaccine mandates on the American people.’
Biden on Thursday announced an aggressive new plan to get 100 million employees across the federal government and private sector vaccinated against COVID as the case rate continues to rise due to the Delta variant.
Other Republican governors are also mounting a defense against Biden’s aggressive new order.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem appeared to threaten legal action against the Biden administration on Twitter.
She was joined by fellow Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who wrote ‘I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration’ on Twitter Thursday evening.
Florida Republican Ron DeSantis is just one of several state chiefs blasting Biden’s announcement
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, also a Republican, released a statement criticizing Biden over the announcement.
‘President Biden’s dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined?’ Ducey wrote Thursday.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said ‘force is more important than freedom’ to Biden in a scathing Twitter post.
‘President Biden has made small business an enemy of his administration. Forcing main street to vax or pay a fine will not only crush an economy he’s put on life support—it’s flat-out un-American,’ McCarthy wrote.
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky blasted Biden’s order as ‘unconstitutional.’
‘OSHA has no more authority to enforce this (there’s no statutory authorization) than CDC had to issue the eviction moratorium,’ Massie said. ‘Which is to say they both have ZERO authority to do these things. Congress makes the laws in a constitutional republic.’
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a regulatory agency within the United States Department of Labor.
To reach his goal, Biden will use the sweeping power of the federal government, ordering companies to vaccinate workers or face fines of up to thousands of dollars. If the administration hits its 100 million mark that means two-thirds of the country’s workforce would be vaccinated.
The rate of COVID vaccinations in the US slowed down over the summer
The vaccination rate slowdown coincided with a new spike in infections fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant
He’ll have the Labor Department issue an emergency, temporary order to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure every worker is either fully vaccinated or gets tested at least once a week. The order covers over 80 million employees and it will require employers with 100 or more employees to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated.
Any business that violates the new rule will face substantial fines, up to $14,000.
Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio mocked Biden in a Thursday statement and accused him of making the announcement to shift national focus off of his botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
‘Blatantly violating the Constitution is one hell of a way to force his failure in Afghanistan out of the headlines. President Biden must be on a mission to be slapped down by the Supreme Court more than any previous administration,’ Gibbs wrote.
‘I expect this order to face legal challenges immediately and fully support the private sector’s future efforts to stop this unconstitutional action.’
Gibbs’s fellow Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Latta also joined in bashing Biden, claiming his ‘plan to force all federal workers to get vaccinated is the definition of government overreach.’
Republican lawmakers and governors have already threatened to take action against Biden’s order
‘Taking away personal freedoms and forcing mandates upon people doesn’t usually make them trust you,’ Rep. Paul Gosar, also of Arizona, wrote on Twitter.
Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, a doctor, said Biden’s ‘vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our entire constitutional system of limited government. This will likely get struck down in the courts – but is a terrifying glimpse of the new Marxist Dem Party.’
Senator Rand Paul, also a doctor, wrote on Twitter: ‘Vaccine mandates that ignore natural immunity ignore the science, are unscientific, and should not be adhered to or promulgated by the government.’
GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee also ripped Biden, writing that he is ‘sounding more like a dictator every day.’
Utah Senator Mike Lee accused Biden of ‘coercing private citizens to undergo a medical procedure’ in a Thursday statement.
‘Joe Biden has shown a wanton disregard for the US Constitution. As a would-be autocrat, Biden endangers the very fibers of this great nation,’ Lee said.
Biden will also require all workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement to get vaccinated, which will apply to 17 million healthcare workers.
That is in addition to his executive order requiring all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated.
Numerous Republicans quickly jumped on the measure and blasted it as ‘un-American’ and ‘unconstitutional’
A senior administration official described it as an ‘aggressive, comprehensive’ plan to fight COVID as part of their mission to ‘vaccinate the unvaccinated.’ The official estimated nearly 80 million Americans are eligible to receive a shot but have not.
Additionally, the roughly 300,000 educators in headstart programs will be required to be vaccinated.
‘It’s simple – if you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated. If you want to do business with the government, you must vaccinate your workforce,’ the senior administration official said on a briefing call with reporters previewing the president’s remarks.
Additionally the TSA is doubling fines for people who refuse to mask on planes. The new range of penalties, which take effect Friday, September 10, 2021, will be $500-$1000 for first offenders and $1000-$3000 for second offenders, the Department of Homeland Security announced.
Biden announced an aggressive new plan to get 100 million employees across the federal government and private sector vaccinated, and directed the Labor Department to issue vaccine or weekly testing mandates to all companies with 100 or more employees
Biden will also call on governors to require vaccinations for all school teachers and staff, a call that will likely not go over well in Southern states like Texas and Florida, where the GOP governors have pushed back against the CDC’s requirement for face masks in schools.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis has threatened to with hold funding from school districts that require face masks.
To counter moves like that, the Department of Education will make additional funding available to help local school districts backfill salaries and other areas where it has been with held.
Biden will also address booster shots in his remarks, leaving the details of timing to the FDA and CDC but noting preparations are underway to get another round of shots in arms.
He will also announce a ramp up in testing, using the Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of rapid tests, including at home test, and purchase $2 billion worth of rapid tests e and over the counter at home COVID tests for a total of 280 million tests.
‘The president’s plan, as you can see, it’s comprehensive, it’s aggressive, and will ensure that we make more progress in our fight against the virus to save even more lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and protecting our economy from lockdowns,’ the official said.
Earlier Thursday it was revealed that Biden will require all of the roughly 2.1 million federal workers to be vaccinated as part of a series of new mandates.
There will be limited exceptions but any federal employee who refuses the shot can be fired, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
Federal employees and contractors will have 75 days to get vaccinated.
The executive order will not include an option of being regularly tested to opt out of the vaccine requirement. The orders will apply to workers in the executive branch but not the congressional or judicial.
‘There will be limited exceptions for legally recognized reasons disability or religious objections,’ Psaki said. Anyone who ‘fails to comply, they will go through the standard HR process, which includes counseling and face disciplinary action,’ she added.
She confirmed that action could include termination of employment.
‘Hopefully it won’t come to that,’ she said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said any federal employee who doesn’t get vaccinated can be fired
She said the administration wanted the federal government to serve as an example for other businesses and organizations when it comes to vaccines.
‘Obviously the federal workforce is one of the largest in the country and we would like to be a model to what we think other businesses, organizations should do,’ she noted. ‘The expectation is that if you want to work with federal government or be a contractor, you need to be vaccinated unless you are eligible for one of the exemptions.’
Republican Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia, who has federal workers in his district, said he objected to the forced vaccines.
‘Although I have personally been vaccinated and regularly encourage those I represent to get vaccinated as well, I fundamentally disagree with forcibly injecting America’s public servants,’ he told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘Our government was founded to secure the individual liberties of all. We should instead continue educating the public that the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. Resorting to forced vaccinations, and returning to unnecessary restrictions, only serves to eliminate critically important vaccination incentives and undermine public confidence in the vaccines’ efficacy,’ he added.
The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal workers, said they would bargain over the order.
‘Workers deserve a voice in their working conditions,’ the group said in a statement. ‘Neither of these positions has changed. We expect to bargain over this change prior to implementation, and we urge everyone who is able to get vaccinated as soon as they can do so.’
And the National Federation of Federal Employees, another government workers union, said they didn’t receive advance notice of the executive order.
Psaki dismissed questions about the unions not being consulted. The Biden White House has bragged about its pro-union stance. At a Labor Day event on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said President Biden told him: ‘This is labor’s house.’
‘We have a range of consultation with labor unions, and that has been the case for several weeks and months as we have worked to implement additional steps,’ Psaki said.
‘But our objective here is to continue to save lives.’
The president is putting more pressure on states, businesses and schools to get people vaccinated as the Delta variant causes the case rate to continue to rise in the United States.
But Republican-led states including Texas and Florida have pushed back and are in the process of trying to ban the orders being imposed.
‘What we’ve seen work over the past couple months are mandates, requirements, making it so workers in the federal government or others have to get vaccinated. We’ve seen it work and we’ve seen it become more popular,’ Psaki said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
‘He’s going to speak directly to vaccinated people and their frustrations and he wants them to hear how we’re going to build on what we’ve done to date to get the virus under control,’ she said.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs already mandate vaccines for their employees. The military also has issued a vaccine mandate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated in interviews on Thursday morning that more mandates were coming
There have now been more than 40 million cases of COVID recorded among Americans, which is nearly one-fifth of the global total of cases.
Biden, in his remarks scheduled for 5 p.m. ET time, will address six areas where his administration can push for more Americans to get vaccinated: that includes new plans to get more people vaccinated, enhancing protection for those who already have had shots, keeping schools open, increasing testing and mask-wearing, protecting the economic recovery and improving healthcare.
President Biden and administration officials have repeatedly emphasized the best way for life to return to normal is for people to get vaccinated.
Biden also plans to call for a global summit, to be held during the U.N. General Assembly later this month, to respond to the pandemic and talk about how to get more vaccine supply to the developing world.
About 27 per cent of the eligible U.S. population age 12 and older have not received any COVID vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile about 75 per cent of Americans have received at least one shot and 53 per cent are fully vaccinated.
In December 2020, after he was elected but before he took office, Biden said he didn’t think COVID vaccines were necessary.
‘I will do everything in my power as president to encourage people to do the right thing and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters,’ he said at the time.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week Americans are getting infected with COVID at 10 times the rate needed to end the pandemic.
‘We’re still in pandemic mode, because we have 160,000 new infections a day,’ Fauci told Axios. ‘That’s not even modestly good control.’
‘In a country of our size, you can’t be hanging around and having 100,000 infections a day,’ he continued. ‘You’ve got to get well below 10,000 before you start feeling comfortable.’
About 75 per cent of Americans have received at least one shot and 53 per cent are fully vaccinated
The vaccination rate among Americans has increased since July, which is when the Delta variant caused case rates to spike, but it remains low in Southern states like Florida and Texas.
Biden will also address the divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
‘He also will acknowledge the fact that the 175 million people who are vaccinated out there, many of them are frustrated. They want to go back to normal. Of course they do. That’s going to require moving more unvaccinated people to a vaccinated status. That’s what he’ll talk about,’ Psaki told CNN on Thursday morning.
In his remarks, Biden also will seek to return his focus to the COVID pandemic, resetting the narrative after the difficult evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan and from Democratic in-fighting on Capitol Hill over his $3.5 trillion budget filled with social programs.
The Biden administration has already taken steps to try and stop Republican-led states from rolling back COVID mandates.
Last month, the Education Department announced a civil rights investigations into five states that banned schools from imposing mask mandates, claiming their stance could discriminate against students with disabilities or health problems.
Education chiefs in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah have been told they are under investigation.
‘It’s simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve,’ said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
‘The department will fight to protect every student’s right to access in-person learning safely.’
NYPD cops are ordered to get vaccinated against Covid, get weekly tests on their own time, or go home without pay
NYPD officers have been told they will be sent home without pay unless they get vaccinated against Covid or provide a weekly negative COVID-19 test which they have taken on their own time.
The new guidelines follow an executive order by Mayor Bill de Blasio about coronavirus protocols for city workers, in response to the surge of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The rules will go into effect on Monday, September 13.
Civilians and paid members of the NYPD who choose to remain unvaccinated will have to get a PCR or a rapid PCR test every seven days on their own time and upload results to an internal contact-tracing system.
Tests have to be done on a weekly basis while officers are off-duty, but the NYPD announced it will soon allow its workforce to get tested at 15 sites across the city at no charge, according to a memo.
At-home antigen tests will not be accepted by the department, under the new police policy.
‘Members of the Service who fail to comply with this directive will not be permitted to work and will be ineligible to receive pay for each day of noncompliance,’ the memo reads.
Unvaccinated NPYD officers have no other choice but to get vaccinated if they don’t want to provide a weekly negative COVID-19 test on their own time or be sent home without pay
The guidelines come after data published late last month revealed that just 47 percent of the department’s workforce — 35,000 uniformed officers and nearly 18,000 civilian members — are fully vaccinated.
That is far lower than the wider New York City population, which has a 61 percent vaccination rate.
The NYPD has one of the worst vaccination rates among police departments in big cities across the country.
Other cities, including Los Angeles and Washington D.C., have more than half of their workforce vaccinated, while Honolulu remains the only city in the U.S. with three-quarters of its police department vaccinated.