Desperate measures put President Biden on a collision course with American freedoms.
In a press conference on September 9th, President Joe Biden announced a stricter plan for combating Covid-19. As cases surged from the Delta variant, new complications were introduced, prompting Biden to abandon his initial passivity towards Covid.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us,” - Biden (9/9/21)
While federal workers in July could originally opt out of vaccinations by getting weekly testing, only months later, those options are gone. Now, federal workers will be required to receive their two vaccinations within 75 days. The consequences- referred to only as disciplinary action- are undefined, but could result in expulsion.
Additionally, healthcare workers whose employers are funded by Medicare or Medicaid, must also receive their two vaccinations. Originally, only nursing homes receiving federal funding were mandated to require employee vaccinations. Once implemented, this new mandate will affect over 17 million healthcare workers.
Finally, an executive order passed by Biden will mandate the vaccination of contractors with the government. This accounts for 2.1 million workers, or around half of all federal workers. The US Department of Labor may also order companies with over 100 employees to require vaccines, with the option to take weekly tests instead.
OSHA, a subdivision of the US Department of Labor, is planning to provide time off so that employees can receive the vaccine and recover from its side effects. All of these mandates include exceptions for disability related or religious reasons. But the question remains, do these mandates infringe on our freedoms?
Since the first federal agency, the Department of Veteran Affairs, mandated vaccinations in July, the federal government has been ramping up in their response towards vaccination and mask defiant Americans. Biden is only getting started with this mandate, using a six-step plan for managing COVID, including further booster shots, the safe reopening of schools, increased testing, and improved care for COVID patients.
Biden’s use of the federal government in combating COVID is widespread in other agencies: the TSA is planning to double fines for passengers violating mask rules in airports and the Department of Education is funding schools who lost funding after passing mask mandates that contradicted their state legislatures' policies.
Biden’s unyielding response to Covid is not without its detractors. Nearly 80 million Americans remain unvaccinated, with only 54% of Americans having received both shots. The initial attempts to persuade hesitant Americans to receive vaccinations have faltered: Tik Tok videos with influencers like Olivia Rodrigo advocating for vaccination could only go so far. Now confronted with an ideological divide split mainly on party lines, Biden must carefully proceed with his fight against Covid, while dealing with severe public and legal backlash.
On (9/9/21) South Carolina governor Henry McMaster promised to “fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian”. Governor Doug Ducey feared that Biden was “hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way”.
Not only must Biden quell these fears over government overreach, but he must also reach out to those who are staunchly against vaccines and COVID prevention in general. Even more difficult to reach, are those moderates who support the concept of vaccines, but are wary of government mandates forcing their usage.
And in his ultimatum: “If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated. If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce.” -Biden (9/9/21)