WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Friday that the federal government doesn’t require COVID-19 vaccines for illegal border crossers – despite President Biden’s new vaccine mandates for about two-thirds of US workers.
“That’s correct,” Psaki told Fox News reporter Peter Doocy at her daily press briefing.
Psaki gave the snippy reply when Doocy asked, “It is a requirement for people at a business with more than 100 people. It is not a requirement for migrants at the southern border. Why?”
No answer (!).
Biden’s new vaccine mandates affect federal workers, contractors, and employees of companies with more than 100 employees, as well as some teachers and professional health care workers. For now-next it will be 75+ employees, Federal Contractors, then 50+ employees, then anyone who can spell Governemnt (sic-trying to keep myself off of the list).
Psaki said that “some of these requirements are the next lever needed to get more people vaccinated.”
In July, more than 212,000 people illegally crossed the southern border, exceeding the more than 180,000 people apprehended in both May and June. Families and some unaccompanied children are allowed to remain, however, the vast majority of single adults are deported under the Trump administration’s COVID-19 policy.
A hundred million people are affected by Biden’s vaccine mandate, announced Thursday. Government workers and contractors who are not exempt from vaccination due to religious or medical reasons are usually required to get vaccinated. A new Labor Department rule will require organizations and companies with 100 or more employees either to implement a vaccination mandate or to subject their staff to weekly testing.
In addition to the $13,600 fines per infraction, Psaki said businesses should require worker vaccinations over weekly testing since it would be a “more cost-effective” option.
She rejected a reporter’s question about whether the mandate will worsen the already difficult recruiting of low-wage workers by many businesses. An increase in federal pandemic unemployment benefits ended this week (which caused a shortage of available workers up to now)..
“I understand you may be asking me about smaller businesses, but it’s for employees of 100 and more,” Psaki said. Again, for now. If they can’t mandate a law that makes us get the jab, then they will find a way to make it hard to survive until we do.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found 42 percent of those who refused vaccinations would prefer to quit their jobs rather than take them.
Additionally to his strict rules for federal employees and contractors, Biden on Thursday mandated vaccines for 350,000 teachers at Head Start and 17 million employees in health facilities.
In an interview, Psaki claimed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s mandate for companies is legally sound and based on laws granting authority to the agency.
“This is a tool, a step that again, there’s legal authority for based on a 50-year-old law,” Psaki said.
But she added that it’s not within the government’s power to order every US resident to get vaccinated. “We don’t have the ability to tell every American, ‘You have to be vaccinated,’” she said.
Actually, I think what she meant to say was “We are NOT going to tell every American that you have to be vaccinated. We are just going to curtail rights, privileges, travel, and employment until you do it our way-of your own free will, of course.”
According to CDC data, 75.3 percent of US adults have had at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. Yet vaccination rates differ widely by state and the national infection rate remains high even though more Americans are vaccinated now than late January.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association opposed Biden’s mandate on federal workers, and the American Federation of Government Employees said, “[w]e expect to bargain over this change prior to implementation.”
Biden outlined the new mandates after his approval rating tanked in several recent national polls, particularly as the Delta variant of COVID-19 became more contagious, resulting in an increase in infections.
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