Some of what Biden addressed in his speech today was a partisan divide between states and counties with high vaccination rates, and those with low vaccination rates.
The reasons people have not been vaccinated are complex and multifaceted, ranging from misinformation to concerns about paid time off. But one thing is also clear amid that nuance – there is a partisan divide, and it has driven hesitancy in places such as Arkansas.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said resistance to the coronavirus vaccine “has hardened” in some areas of his state, blaming the hesitancy on “false information” and myths” https://t.co/Gdj0GhQxHr
July 25, 2021
Biden addressed some of that in his speech today, telling Americans vaccine development and delivery had now been handled by both a Republican and Democratic administration.
“This is not about red states and blue states, it’s literally about life and death, it’s about life and death,” said Biden, “that’s what it’s about”.
He said he had to “compliment” Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who has been a consistent proponent of vaccines, and Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey, who encouraged people to get vaccinated in her states (while also divisively saying it was time to “blame” the unvaccinated).
However, even as some Republicans have begun to lobby in favor of Covid-19 vaccines, the rhetoric has been uneven in the party and comes after more than a year of downplaying the virus under former president Donald Trump’s leadership.
“I know people talk about freedom,” said Biden, referencing a frequent talking point for the vaccine hesitancy who identify as Republicans, “but I learned growing up… freedom comes responsibility… Your decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else”.
Some major employers, such as Google and Facebook, have said they will require vaccines. But other industries and unions have approached mandates cautiously.
The American Federation of Teachers, which also represents nurses, said this week vaccine mandates must be negotiated.
The American Health Care Association, an industry group that represents nursing and long-term care homes, said in a statement it was concerned vaccine mandates could make recruiting generally low-paid workers difficult in the context of an existing labor shortage. More than 40% of long-term care home workers have not been vaccinated.
Biden implicitly acknowledged some of these challenges later in the press conference, saying, “a lot of this is timing”.
Side effects of vaccines authorized in the US are generally mild and short-term. Independent scientific panels have found they are safe and highly effective against severe Covid-19 and hospitalization.
Biden urged Americans to “Go get the vaccine now, now”.
President Biden announced a list of mandates and incentives to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 as hospitals across the country see a new surge of coronavirus cases in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
“We are not fully out of the woods yet,” said Biden, and later that hospital wards filled with individuals battling Covid-19, 99% of whom are unvaccinated, are “unnecessary, avoidable and tragic”.
New cases are not expected to lead to the same level of deaths and hospitalizations seen last winter, because 190 million Americans have had at least one shot. However, new modeling has sparked concern, as forecasters predicted 60,000 more Americans could die by mid-October, adding to the more than 609,000 who have already died.
Among Biden’s announcements, he said federal government workers will be required to attest they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 vaccine or get tested at least weekly for Covid-19. A similar standard will apply to federal contractors. The plan mirrors a vaccine mandate for health workers in New York City’s public hospitals announced last week.
Biden also said he would call on the Department of Defense to determine when Covid-19 vaccines should be added to required shots for the military; said the federal government would reimburse employers who give employees paid time off to get a vaccine; and that local governments should use stimulus funding to give $100 incentives to Americans who get newly vaccinated.
“It’s time to impose requirements on key groups to make sure they’re vaccinated,” said Biden. He later said he would like to see employers “move in that direction” of mandating vaccines.
The justice department has said vaccine mandates are legal, they have a history that goes back to the Revolutionary War, and have been required for years for some workers and schoolchildren for diseases such as influenza and measles.
at 5.45pm EDT
China’s talks with Taliban could be a positive thing, US says
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said that Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan could be a “positive thing”, after China gave a warm and very public welcome to a senior Taliban delegation.
Nine officials from the militant group, which is eager for political recognition to bolster the impact of its military victories across much of Afghanistan, met China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in the coastal city of Tianjin on Wednesday.
Photographs showed Wang welcoming Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , the Taliban’s co-founder and head of its political commission, with open arms, then sitting down for talks with the Taliban delegation.
China hosted Taliban representatives in 2019, and is thought to maintain unofficial links with the group through its ally Pakistan.
Wang said the withdrawal of American and Nato troops, which will be officially completed by the end of August, “marks the failure of the US policy toward Afghanistan”. He called the Taliban “an important military and political force in Afghanistan”, and urged the group to make progress in peace talks.
Although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to be staving off a collapse into full civil war.
Today so far
Joe Biden’s speech on vaccination efforts has now concluded, and that’s all from me for today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Biden outlined his administration’s latest efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus. Among other initiatives, the Biden administration is urging states to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated residents and requiring federal workers to get vaccinated or receive regular coronavirus tests. “People are dying and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said moments ago.
- Biden has called on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of July. While federal aid is available to renters who will not be able to make rent, housing advocates have said the aid has been slow, and many Americans are at-risk of eviction.
- The US economy grew 6.5% in this year’s second quarter. The figure was lower than what analysts had expected, though bottlenecks in the supply chain of certain goods is a likely explanation.
- The Senate unanimously passed a $2.1bn bill to bolster funding for Capitol security and help relocate Afghans who have assisted the US military. The White House has already indicated that Biden will sign the bill, which will provide much-needed funds for the US Capitol Police and reimburse the National Guard for their Capitol mission in response to the January 6 insurrection.
- The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said that he’s gotten the support from all 50 Democratic senators to advance the reconciliation bill, which would fund many of Biden’s “human infrastructure” proposals. The bill’s price tag is currently $3.5tn, although some moderate Democrats have indicated they want a less costly package.
Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Biden outlines vaccination incentives and mandate for federal workers
Joe Biden outlined the new initiatives his administration is launching to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
As previously announced, the president noted his administration is urging state, local and tribal governments to provide $100 payments to newly vaccinated residents.
Biden acknowledged those incentives may frustrate some of the millions of Americans who are already fully vaccinated, but he emphasized the entire country would benefit from these efforts.
“Here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them,” Biden said.
The president also confirmed that his administration is asking all federal workers and on-site contractors to attest to their fully vaccinated status or submit to regular coronavirus tests.
“With incentives and mandates, we will make a huge difference and save a lot of lives,” Biden said.
‘You don’t have to die’: Biden pleads with unvaccinated Americans to get their shot
Joe Biden delivered yet another urgent plea to unvaccinated Americans, encouraging them to get their shot as quickly as possible.
“Make no mistake: vaccines are the best defense against you getting severely ill from Covid-19,” Biden said.
The president acknowledged there have been some breakthrough infections among vaccinated Americans, but he emphasized that those cases remain rare and almost all involved mild symptoms.
Biden credited the vaccines with a lower rate of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths even as cases rise because of the spread of the Delta variant.
“People are dying and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said. “This is not about red states and blue states. It is literally about life and death.”
Joe Biden is now delivering his remarks on his administration’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus.
Biden began by noting that the US is now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases among unvaccinated Americans because of the Delta variant, which is more highly transmissible than the original variant.
“We need some straight talk right now,” the president said. “Because there’s a lot of fear and misinformation in the country, and we need to cut through it — with facts, with science, with the truth.”
Pres. Biden gives remarks on the COVID pandemic: “We need some straight talk right now. Because there’s a lot of fear and misinformation in the country, and we need to cut through it—with facts; with science; with the truth.” https://t.co/ZHmyyZGIxU pic.twitter.com/Ml5RyyQ8YL
July 29, 2021
Federal employees will be required to provide vaccination status, White House confirms
The White House has just released a fact sheet outlining the initiatives Joe Biden will announce in his speech on vaccination efforts this afternoon.
As expected, the Biden administration is requiring all federal employees to “attest to their vaccination status” or comply with restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus in government offices.
“Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel,” the fact sheet says.
The rule applies to all federal workers and on-site contractors, which accounts for about 4 million people. The White House is urging all private employers to develop a similar model.
Biden will also call on the Pentagon to “look into how and when they will add Covid-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military”.
The blog will have more details coming up, so stay tuned.
at 4.42pm EDT
Ouch, that’s got to hurt: Jill Biden will undergo a procedure at Walter Reed medical center today to remove an object that became lodged in her foot last weekend.
Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesperson, said in a statement provided to the White House press pool: “Last weekend, prior to her two official events in Hawaii, the First Lady stepped on an object on the beach which became lodged in her left foot. She will undergo a procedure today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to remove the object. The President will join her.”
The first lady visited Hawaii over the weekend after traveling to Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
at 4.19pm EDT
New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has already followed the treasury department’s advice, announcing yesterday that anyone who goes to a city-run vaccination site for their first dose of the vaccine will receive $100 starting Friday.
NYC Mayor’s Office
Get your first dose of the #COVID19 vaccine at a City run site and you’ll get $100.
It’s that simple.
➡️ https://t.co/V1jusyFv1K https://t.co/etaipgbCtd pic.twitter.com/w7V1nKrk9S
July 28, 2021
On Monday, De Blasio also announced a vaccine mandate for all of New York’s roughly 340,000 city employees. Starting 13 September, all city workers – including public school teachers, police officers and firefighters – will need to show proof of vaccination or receive weekly coronavirus tests.
Joe Biden is expected to soon announce a similar mandate for federal workers when he delivers his speech on the White House’s vaccination campaign.
at 4.20pm EDT
Biden calls on states to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated Americans
Joe Biden is set to soon deliver a speech on his administration’s efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus, and the treasury department is now previewing one of those initiatives.
The department released a statement urging state, local and tribal governments to use funds they received from the American Rescue Plan to offer payments to newly vaccinated residents.
“For these governments and the communities they represent, no task is more urgent than turning the tide on the pandemic, and there is no better tool than vaccination. This is why Treasury is encouraging state, territorial and local governments to use the funds to enhance their vaccination efforts, including by providing individual vaccine incentives,” the statement says.
“Today, the President is calling on state, territorial, and local governments to provide $100 payments for every newly vaccinated American, as an extra incentive to boost vaccination rates, protect communities, and save lives. Treasury stands ready to give technical assistance to state and local governments so that they may use the funds effectively to support increased vaccination in their communities, and Treasury will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services throughout this effort.”
Biden’s speech is scheduled to start in about 20 minutes, so stay tuned.
at 4.20pm EDT
Well, this is moving quite quickly. The House has already taken up the $2.1bn Capitol security funding bill that passed the Senate this afternoon.
House Press Gallery
The House is debating for up to 40 minutes @rosadelauro motion to suspend the rules and concur with the Senate amendment H.R. 3237 – emergency supplemental bill.
July 29, 2021
However, Republican congressman Chip Roy has just introduced a motion to adjourn the session, which will slightly delay the final vote on the security bill. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill, the House will vote today on the $2.1bn Capitol security bill that unanimously passed the Senate this afternoon.
House today plans to debate & vote on Senate-passed $2.1B US Capitol security/Afghan relocation emergency supplemental spending bill “upon receipt of the papers” per Hoyer. House will consider bill under suspension of the rules w/40 mins for debate,no amdts & 2/3rds vote to pass. pic.twitter.com/p7PxnpTIXj
July 29, 2021
The office of the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer ,has just said the chamber will consider the bill under suspension of the rules, meaning the legislation will need a two-thirds majority to pass.
The White House has already indicated that Joe Biden will sign the bill if it passes the House. Stay tuned.
at 4.21pm EDT
Karine Jean-Pierre avoided providing specifics on the expected vaccine mandate for federal workers, but she argued the White House has a responsibility to set the best standards for their employees.
As the largest employer in the US, the federal government has “an obligation to be good stewards of the workforce and ensure their health and their safety”, the deputy press secretary said.
“We’re taking action to protect the federal workforce so that they can continue to execute on the hard and important work of government,” Jean-Pierre said.
She also argued that the steps the federal government is taking are not all that dissimilar from action initiated by other workplaces across the country.
at 4.21pm EDT
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not provide any details on Joe Biden’s speech this afternoon about the administration’s vaccination efforts.
Using one of press secretary Jen Psaki’s favorite answers, Jean-Pierre told reporters: “I don’t want to get ahead of the president.”
Biden is scheduled to deliver his speech in about an hour, and the president is expected to announce a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all federal employees.
at 4.22pm EDT
Originally Appeared Here