Today’s entry: Pres. Biden wants to use his leverage in office to increase vaccination rates by mandating government employees, contractors, health care workers, and employers with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated. If his motivation is sincere to increase vaccination rates, why is he not using his power to enforce these same mandates he is placing on employed persons, for some non-employed person or other individuals who receive federal benefits he and his party-controlled Congress and cabinet does have some legitimate oversight for? For example, as citizens who receive TANF, SNAP (food stamps)/WIC, SSI, EITC, Section 8 housing, free reduced federal lunch programs, Pell grants, federal work-study, federal entitlement payments, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.
Seems kind of a one-sided approach.
Bottom Line: These are excellent points and questions. Several related questions have popped up since President Biden’s vaccine mandate announcement. One of the more commonly advanced in the name of illustrating absurdity is the realization that migrants are allowed across the border and commonly offered transportation to desired end destinations. No vaccinations or COVID tests are required. Yet tax-paying American citizens are being threatened with their careers if they don’t bend to the threats advanced by the greatest example of executive overreach in modern-American history. The hypocrisy knows no bounds with the Biden Administration. But what about government programs as you’ve stated? If he can issue an edict for federal employees and private sector employees with larger companies, what can he do for those using assistance programs?
I’ll start by saying he can’t lawfully do what he’s already espoused and to that end, the actual language in the order he announced will likely reflect loopholes for religious and medical exemptions at a minimum. Even then, odds are the courts strike down whatever it looks like. With that said, let’s look at the differences between employment edicts and government assistance edicts. When evaluating the host of government assistance programs you’ve referenced, there are numerous differences, some of which take considerations away from the federal government. In the case of programs like SNAP and Section 8 housing, while funds are provided by the federal government the programs are administered at the state and local level.
In these examples, state rather than federal edicts would need to be applied to discriminate on the basis of vaccination status at the individual level. While there are likely many blue states that’d take the lead from President Biden, it’s a certainty Governor DeSantis and most if not, all Republican Governors wouldn’t. Programs like Medicare, Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit are different in that they’re administered directly by federal agencies. It’s with those programs that in theory, the federal mandates you’ve asked about may apply.
Could it be possible for federally administered programs like Medicare, Social Security, and the Earned Income Tax Credit come with a vaccine mandate attached to them? Yes, but not through executive action. The legal authority President Biden is attempting to use for workplace vaccine mandates is through OSHA. OSHA was signed into law in December 1970.
Should any federal programs be attached to vaccine mandates, it’d require an act of Congress. All federal assistance programs have been authorized by Congress. Unlike OSHA, which only applies to workplaces, none were enacted with regulators able to apply specific health standards to the receipt of them. For that reason, for an effort to even be attempted by President Biden or any federal official to issue vaccine mandates as a condition of receiving them, each program individually would have to be altered by Congress to reflect that ability and be signed into law by the president.
Even the most militant on the left in Congress along with the Dictator-Wannabee-in-Chief aren’t about to open up Medicare, Social Security and other federal benefit programs to changes for the purpose of instituting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Though Constitutionally flawed, Biden’s logic is pretty clear. Nationally 89.7% of Americans 65 and older (retirement age) have been vaccinated – that rate is 99.9% in Florida. Hence the focus on the workplace.
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Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio