Although President Joe Biden issued a new mandate requiring millions of federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated — and exerting strong pressure on private employers — Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo denied that the administration is forcing anyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Nobody is being forced” to be vaccinated, claimed Raimondo on MSNBC on Tuesday morning.
The secretary was responding to MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who announced she was “puzzled by people that continue to say they’re forced to get vaccinated here.”
Workers in the private sector who do not wish to receive a vaccination can always sequester themselves at home, Ruhle said.
“There’s always been a choice: If you do not want to get vaccinated, you can work from home. You can homeschool your children. You can shop online,” Ruhle said. “If you didn’t want to vaccinate your kids, you can homeschool, and people have done it for years.”
Raimondo agreed. “We are not being forced,” she repeated. “You can work from home, get tested on a weekly basis.”
“I think this is smart public policy and great leadership by the president,” Secretary Raimondo said.
Raimondo’s assertion contradicts numerous planks of President Biden’s six-point plan to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, which he unveiled last Thursday evening.
The White House website notes that President Biden signed an executive order to “require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated” — a number it places in the “millions.”
The president’s executive actions also “require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.”
“These requirements will apply to approximately 50,000 providers and cover a majority of health care workers across the country,” the website adds.
The most controversial part of the Biden administration’s plan demands that private businesses with at least 100 workers get their employees vaccinated or have them subjected to weekly testing.
The mandate, which would be overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fines employers $13,600 for each violation. In all, the president’s executive action impacts 100 million American citizens.
While the private employer portion of the mandate does not strictly require employees to be inoculated, the cost of COVID-19 tests may prove burdensome when compared to the “free” COVID-19 vaccination. “At $10 or $15 a test, the price is still far too high for regular use by anyone but the wealthy,” wrote Hannah Norman of Kaiser Health News. “A family with two school-age children might need to spend $500 or more a month to try to keep their family — and others — safe.” President Biden has promised to expand “free” testing at food banks, community health centers, and retail pharmacies.
Republican governors have promised a vigorous court battle.
Raimondo called lack of vaccination “the single biggest thing that’s holding back the economy right now” — although economists say rampant inflation, reduced consumer confidence, and a hiring crisis caused in part by additional supplemental unemployment benefits place the economy in jeopardy.
Inflation rose by 5.4% in July, the largest increase since 2008, and by 5.3% year-on-year in August. The Consumer Confidence Index, which measures consumers’ optimism about their economic future, fell to a six-month low last month. and there are currently 10.9 million unfilled jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases in health care and social assistance,” according to the BLS.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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