WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Republican governors fired back at President Joe Biden after his comment to “get them out of the way.”
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would push back against Biden’s move.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed is state “is already working to halt this power grab.”
Republican governors have accused President Joe Biden of a power grab and undermining livelihoods by mandating some businesses to require their workers to vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The president announced vaccine mandates for workers at private companies with more than 100 employees. He also criticized some governors’ response to the COVID pndemic. Though he did not name the governors, it is widely understood that he was referring to Republican Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas.
DeSantis has issued a ban on mask mandates, ordering that they were to remain optional in schools . He appealed a circuit court judge ruling that the institutions be allowed to impose mask mandates. Abbott also issued an executive order preventing schools from imposing mask mandates.
“There are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19,” Biden said, calling the current situation “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Some 80 million Americans have not yet got the shot.
“Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their job,” Biden said. “If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”
DeSantis, who has promoted vaccinations in the Sunshine State as the best COVID-mitigating measure, said he would push back against Biden’s move.
“How could we get to the point in this country where you would want to have someone lose their job because of their choice about the vaccine or not?” he told a press conference.
The GOP governor said some people “had reasons” for not wearing masks, adding: “Maybe they are making the wrong decision, but to put them out of work and … not let them earn a living. Because of this? I just think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
“The more and more this has become coercive … the more people it alienates,” he said. “I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”
Abbott tweeted that “Texas is already working to halt this power grab,” adding that he had issued an executive order and added it to the special session agenda.
Biden’s plan could affect 100 million American workers and lead to fines of up to $14,000 for firms that do not comply. Employers would need to provide paid time off to get the vaccine and urged entertainment venues to require vaccination or testing proof from patrons.