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    Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering mandating COVID booster shots for restaurants and concert venues as the Omicron variant has spread to a variety of countries across the globe after emerging last month.   After officials confirmed that five people in New York State have tested positive for the Omicron variant, both de Blasio and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said they would consider tightening vaccine mandates to allow entry to certain venues.    'With all of our approaches to COVID, we're going to update them because we're dealing with some new challenges,' de Blasio said on Friday. 'We're going to keep updating policies regularly to meet this challenge.' The mysterious origin of the heavily mutated strain of Covid has puzzled experts since South African scientists alerted the world to is existence last week.  De Blasio said he is considering mandates that would require people looking to eat indoors or attend concerts to have two shots of the vaccine and the booster Governor Hochul said she was also open to new mandates but wanted to wait until...
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ripped Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for his opposition to President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandates. Psaki briefed reporters on Friday, and wrapped up with the now-regular appearance of a local reporter via video chat. This time, it was Rafael Olavarría of Univision 23 Atlanta. Mr. Olavarría asked Psaki what her message to Kemp’s opposition to the mandates would be, given the low vaccination rate and potential for spread of Omicron in the state: MR. OLAVARRÍA: Hello, Secretary Psaki, and thank you for taking my question. I’ll ask you something that is a cause of concern for our communities here in Georgia. As you probably know, our state is only — we have only 51 percent of our population fully vaccinated, and we even have counties where only 20 percent of our residents are vaccinated. Yesterday, Dr. Cameron Webb from the White House COVID-19 Response Team told me that states like Georgia are potentially some of the most vulnerable ones to the new variant. Nevertheless, our Governor, Brian Kemp, has been laser focused on fighting federal vaccine...
    Not even the Catholic schools are free in New York City, where the government has just ordered a vaccine mandate for religious and private school employees. Announced Thursday, the new directive will require employees at yeshivas, Catholic schools, and other private institutions to have at least one dose of a vaccine by December 20. The order will affect “roughly 930 schools and 56,000 employees, city officials,” according to the New York Times. “We’re doing everything in our power to protect our students and school staff, and a mandate for nonpublic school employees will help keep our school communities and youngest New Yorkers safe,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. While public school and education employees are required to be fully vaccinated, the city has resisted implementing a vaccine mandate for students, unlike the city of Los Angeles, which requires vaccinations for students 12 & up. Los Angeles has not yet mandated the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. “California was the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all teachers, covering public and private schools, but allowed...
    President Joe Biden signed legislation funding the federal government until mid-February, the White House said on Friday, avoiding a shutdown after some Republicans threatened a standoff over COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The move keeps federal agencies running until Feb. 18, giving Congress another 11 weeks to thrash out either another short-term fix or a longer agreement to keep the government running. 'Funding the government isn't a great achievement - it's a bare minimum of what we need to get done,' said Biden earlier in the day. He thanked the Senate for passing the bill in a bipartisan vote on Thursday night. 'And I want to urge Congress to use the time this bill provides to work toward a bipartisan agreement on a full year funding bill that makes the needed investments in our economy and our people, from public health education to national security,' he said.  The final vote on the short-term measure was 69 to 28, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 18 other Republicans joining Democrats to keep the government open.    'Funding the government isn't a great...
    Millions of health care workers across the U.S. were supposed to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this coming Monday under a mandate issued by President Joe Biden’s administration. Thanks to legal challenges, they won’t have to worry about it, at least for now. Same goes for a Jan. 4 deadline set by the administration for businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for the virus. Judges responding to lawsuits brought by Republican-led states, businesses and other opponents have blocked some of Biden’s most sweeping initiatives intended to drive up vaccination rates. Numerous other legal challenges are pending, contesting the Democratic president’s vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors and members of the military, as well as mask requirements for people using public transportation. More than four-fifths of adults nationwide already have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But Biden contends his various workforce vaccine mandates are an important step in curtailing the virus, which has killed more than 780,000 people in the U.S....
    Sen. Ted Cruz voted against keeping the government open Thursday night, going on a tirade earlier about President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates to explain his objection. 'No pissant politician, whether a local mayor or a govenor or the president of the United States has the right or legal authority to force you to make that decision,' Cruz told reporters on Capitol Hill.  The Texas Republican pointed to string of recent court decisions, which have stalled mandates from starting.    Cruz and his GOP colleagues were most concerned about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulation that says businesses with more than 100 employees must make workers get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests.  'The Biden White House mandates have been struck down repeatedly by the courts,' Cruz said. 'They are blatantly lawless. Joe Biden knows they’re lawless. His lawyers have told him that the vaccine mandates are contrary to law. And Democrats don’t care,' the Texan complained.    'They don't care about medical privacy, they don't care about individual autonomy. Instead, we have seen in the course of this pandemic, Democrats, being very...
    On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) criticized the prospects of a government shutdown over vaccine mandates, which are “about making sure we can take on the next phase of the virus.” Warner said, “Nothing would be stupider, with challenges still around the virus, with an economy that’s challenged by supply chains, than for the federal government to be shutting down because a small group of senators are going to say — a small group of senators that, by the way, generally call themselves pro-life, that somehow they want to prohibit vaccine mandates, which…is about making sure we can take on the next phase of the virus. It’s just totally contradictory.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden looked out over an audience of government scientists and framed his latest plan for fighting COVID-19 as an opportunity to at last put an end to divisiveness over the virus, calling the politicization of the issue a “sad, sad commentary.” And then he tacked on a political dig. Some people “on the other team,” he said Thursday, were threatening to hold up government spending and endangering the nation’s credit out of pique over vaccination requirements. “Go figure,” he added. It was a quick aside in a Biden speech that otherwise struck a largely bipartisan tone. But it served as fresh evidence that after taking it on the chin for months, Biden and his allies are increasingly willing to hit back, casting Republicans as the true obstacle to the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. The president’s efforts to confront the coronavirus have long attracted a litany of fiery statements, legal challenges and more than a few barbs from his predecessor. But Biden was elected on the promise of depoliticizing the virus response and following...
    MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Led by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Republicans are escalating their fight against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate by testing a new method to support resisters: Giving taxpayer money to the unvaccinated. Florida is one of a handful of states that now ensures people who refuse the shot remain eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their job over their stance. Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee — all governed by Republicans — have done the same. READ MORE: Arrest Made After Social Media Threat Targets Marjory Stoneman Douglas HighAnd DeSantis, one of the leading Republican voices against federal vaccine requirements, wants to go even further. He says his state may pay the fines of businesses that snub the federal vaccine mandate — and he’ll do it with coronavirus relief aid signed into law by Biden. “This is an important fight,” DeSantis recently told business leaders. “And it’s a fight we’re happy to join.” It was only a few months ago that a majority of Americans lived in a state that offered people cash or other freebies if they...
    MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Thursday lamented Americans “politicizing” Covid-19 as a reporter for the network lauded Europe for making it “virtually impossible for people to have normal lives.” “Administration officials I’ve talked to now say they are doing everything they possibly can given GOP opposition to mandates,” reporter Heidi Przybyla told Tur, before claiming that “public health experts” sided with Democrats and pointing to Europe as an example to follow. “If you look across the pond, much of the European Union is making it virtually impossible for people to have normal lives, go to restaurants, get on a plane, go to an entertainment venue unless you are vaccinated,” Przybyla said. “Just today, Katy, we’re seeing Germany talking about a potential nationwide vaccine mandate,” she added. “You compare that with what’s happening on the hill right now with Republicans threatening a shutdown over vaccine mandates … and you question what are the other mandate levers that exist for this administration.” The United States Constitution prohibits a federal vaccine mandate akin to the German mandate Przybyla referenced, advising that powers “not delegated to...
    VIDEO3:3003:30Science and speed, not chaos and confusion: Biden unveils winter plan to fight CovidThe News with Shepard Smith President Joe Biden on Thursday said his plan to fight Covid during the winter months will not include new lockdowns or an expansion of the administration's current vaccination requirements. "It doesn't include shutdowns or lockdowns, but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing a lot more," Biden told reporters during an update. "And while my existing federal vaccination requirements are being reviewed by the courts, this plan does not expand or add to those mandates — a plan that all Americans hopefully can rally around, and it should get bipartisan support, in my humble opinion," the president said. The administration hopes to increase the number of Americans who have received booster shots by expanding outreach. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will contact the more than 60 million people who are on Medicare, mostly seniors, to remind them to get an additional shot. The White House plan, unveiled earlier Thursday, comes after at least two cases of the highly mutated omicron variant...
    New York City's most exclusive and expensive fee-paying schools are ordering students over the age of five to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  The principals of elite schools including Spence, Chapin located on Manhattan's posh Upper East Side and Horace Mann, located in the Bronx, have sent letters and emails home to parents requesting pupils get the shot over the winter break.  The schools, many of which are described as being the 'Ivy League of Preparatory Schools, and which charge upwards of $55,000-a-year, are requesting children come back from their Christmas holidays fully vaccinated.  Some of the schools already informed parents via letter of the impending requirements and deadlines for students to receive the jab. Pfizer's two-shot COVID vaccine is now available in the US for all children aged five and up.  New York City has announced a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will require all nonpublic school employees to get their first shot by December 20 'The expectation is now for all Spence students ages 5-11 to have received their first dose of COVID vaccine before January 7, 2022, and to...
    For a week, lawmakers skirted closer and closer to what would have been one of the most pointless government shutdowns in recent memory. Everyone from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to President Joe Biden agreed that a shutdown would be an exceedingly stupid idea. But almost 24 hours from when the lights were slated to turn off, leaders were able snatch victory—in this case, the government meeting basic obligations—from the clutches of a vocal GOP minority willing to shut it all down in service to an anti-vaccine crusade. Earlier this week, a handful of hardline Republican lawmakers concocted a galaxy-brain gambit to use a stopgap government funding bill to stop vaccine mandates. Democrats, who didn’t seem to anticipate that anyone would seriously oppose a bill just to keep the government going as lawmakers negotiate a larger spending deal, didn’t leave themselves enough time to avoid handing over a small and temporary bit of leverage to any one Republican senator—and that left open the serious possibility that one of them would force a shutdown just...
    Republicans themselves have cited supply chain problems under Trump as a contributing factor to U.S. COVID-19 deaths. In an appearance Thursday on Fox News, former President Donald Trump claimed falsely that supply chain problems were not a concern during his time in office — despite the fact that his own party routinely cited such issues throughout the final months of his tenure. "Nobody ever mentioned those words 'supply chain,' they were never brought up, we had perfect supply chains," Trump said, in a phone interview with "Fox & Friends."   Supply chain disruptions were a major problem during Trump's presidency, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe in 2020. The pipeline for personal protective equipment (PPE) was hit particularly hard: hospitals and other medical responders reported a lack of masks and other supplies in their battle against the virus. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AR) noted in a February report that actions undertaken by Chinese officials in response to the virus had disrupted the flow of supplies to the...
    (CNN)Only a few months after terminating federal pandemic unemployment benefits early, several GOP-led states are now expanding jobless payments to a different group of people affected by Covid-19: unvaccinated residents who are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.At least three red states -- Iowa, Tennessee and Florida -- have recently passed laws extending eligibility to these folks as part of broader measures restricting employer vaccine mandates. Kansas' GOP-led legislature approved a similar bill that Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, recently signed. And in Arkansas, which is controlled by Republicans, a law curtailing vaccine mandates will take effect in January. Other states, including Wyoming and Wisconsin, have looked into such provisions, and more are expected to consider similar legislation when lawmakers return to their capitols in January.States need to approve these unemployment benefits measures because workers typically don't qualify if they quit their jobs voluntarily or are dismissed for violating company policies.Read MoreEmployers have significant authority to impose a range of mandates on their workers, said Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects at the right-leaning Tax Foundation. Noncompliance is...
              more   Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci on Tuesday backed a measure by Ohio lawmakers to block vaccine mandates in the state. House Bill 218, which was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month, would provide broad exemptions to any vaccine mandate. For example, individuals would not have to receive the coronavirus because of religious beliefs, medical conditions, or if they have natural immunity. Schools and employers would also be prohibited from requiring a student or employee to receive a vaccine if it has not been granted full approval by the FDA. According to Renacci, the legislation is needed for residents of the state. “HB 218 needs to pass because history has taught us that we can’t trust Mike DeWine to fight for the rights of Ohioans and to resist lockdowns and mandates,” Renacci said in an emailed statement. “Anthony Fauci is an unelected Washington bureaucrat and should never be dictating policy for the state of Ohio. Ohioans deserve a Governor who is committed to fighting for our economy and protecting our fundamental liberties. That’s precisely the...
              more   Georgia’s nursing and healthcare staff shortages have reached “crisis” levels after hospital networks in the state mandated that employees take the COVID-19 vaccine during the summer. Many news outlets and healthcare executives are blaming stress and long hours for the shortages, claiming that healthcare staffers are leaving their jobs because they are overworked. “What that means is the staff who are left are exhausted,” Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Sloan’s organization, a nonprofit, represents thousands of elder care providers around the country. “They are working probably longer shifts with little relief,” she said. “What it also means is that there are a lot of people who aren’t able to access care when they need it. We have a growing number of underserved older adults in need of services and supports. That’s a huge problem.” In an August 20 piece, AJC bemoaned the state’s nursing shortage, which it also described as a “crisis,” again blaming the workload from the pandemic. One of the hospitals that story mentioned, Piedmont Healthcare, over the summer alerted employees that...
    LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The latest vaccination statistics for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department show more than 44% of the department still hasn't received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the deadline was over two months ago.The Los Angeles Police Department, however, is reporting better compliance with 21% of its staff not yet vaccinated.The leaders of those organizations say they can't afford to lose employees with crime on the rise."It's actually disrupting our ability to provide public safety services to Los Angeles County," said L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva during a news conference about the county's vaccine mandate on Nov. 3.READ ALSO | Sheriff Villanueva won't enforce county's new mask order, claims 'not backed by science'EMBED More News Videos Los Angeles County's decision to reinstate the indoor mask mandate is getting mixed reactions, with some blasting it as unnecessary and others saying they are prepared to do what it takes to keep themselves and others safe. Villanueva has said he won't comply with the mandate requiring deputies to be vaccinated, and critics say that has sent a...
    By Tom Hals | Reuters The Biden administration was blocked on Tuesday from enforcing two mandates requiring millions of American workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a key part of its strategy for controlling the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana, temporarily blocked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers until the court can resolve legal challenges. Doughty’s ruling applied nationwide, except in 10 states where the CMS was already prevented from enforcing the rule due to a prior order from a federal judge in St. Louis. Doughty said the CMS lacked the authority to issue a vaccine mandate that would require more than 2 million unvaccinated healthcare workers to get a coronavirus shot. “There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million healthcare workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency,” wrote Doughty. Separately, U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove in Frankfort, Kentucky, blocked the administration from enforcing a regulation that new government contracts must include clauses...
    The emergence of the omicron variant has caused the White House to revisit questions over whether to impose vaccine mandates for domestic air travel, especially as travel picks up for the holiday season. The White House said nothing is off the table as the country braces for the new variant to spread to the U.S. A move to mandate vaccines for domestic air travel or to require testing would be controversial and likely hotly contested, but the Biden administration isn’t shutting down the idea. “He wasn't taking any options off the table, but he's going to rely on the advice of his health and medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table US, Iran return to same negotiating table Federal workers who don't meet vaccine mandate won't face discipline until January MORE told reporters on Monday, referring to President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE, when asked...
    The majority of U.S. employers are requiring their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or are planning such mandates, a new survey finds. Advisory firm Willis Towers Watson surveyed 543 companies representing 5.2 million workers in mid-November, asking about their Covid safety policies. About 18 percent of the companies are requiring vaccines already, according to the survey, while 32 percent will add a vaccine requirement if Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules take effect An additional seven percent of employers plan to require vaccinations regardless of the OSHA rule.  Only three percent of employers with vaccine mandates reported a notable increase in resignations. The findings suggest that vaccine mandates are broadly popular with employers - despite a number of legal challenges as employers seek to bring their workers back into offices safely. The majority of U.S. employers in a recent survey said they are already requiring or plan to require vaccines for all workers, pending an upcoming OSHA rule The survey suggests that vaccine mandates are popular with employers despite legal challenges. Pictured: Vaccination at a pop-up clinic in...
    In July, President Joe Biden issued a series of rules requiring that federal workers, and workers at companies that receive federal contracts, must be vaccinated. That included health care workers who work for hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. However, earlier this month, a three-judge panel in Texas blocked the implementation of the mandate for many large companies. Now, as The Washington Post reports, a federal district judge in Missouri has acted to block even the mandate for health care workers. That includes workers dealing face-to-(hopefully-masked-)face with COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms and workers caring for those most vulnerable to bad outcomes in nursing homes. What both rulings have in common is simple enough: Trump-appointed judges. Unsurprisingly, the ruling from District Judge Matthew Schelp is filled with the kind of political language that might be expected from a Trump appointee, with statements including claims that implementing the rule would create a “...politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate...” The ruling also flatly accepts unsupported claims by a group of Republican state attorneys, headed by radical right Missouri attorney...
    Nurses conduct coronavirus testing at a drive-thru site at in El Paso, Texas. In July, President Joe Biden issued a series of rules requiring that federal workers, and workers at companies that receive federal contracts, must be vaccinated. That included health care workers who work for hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. However, earlier this month, a three-judge panel in Texas blocked the implementation of the mandate for many large companies. Now, as The Washington Post reports, a federal district judge in Missouri has acted to block even the mandate for health care workers. That includes workers dealing face-to-(hopefully-masked-)face with COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms and workers caring for those most vulnerable to bad outcomes in nursing homes. What both rulings have in common is simple enough: Trump-appointed judges. Unsurprisingly, the ruling from District Judge Matthew Schelp is filled with the kind of political language that might be expected from a Trump appointee, with statements including claims that implementing the rule would create a “...politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate...” The ruling also flatly accepts unsupported claims by a group of Republican...
    (CNN)Earlier this month, Austria took a step once unthinkable for a Western democracy: It announced that Covid-19 vaccinations would become compulsory for its entire population. Up until then, governments around the world had rejected the idea of a universal coronavirus vaccine mandate, opting instead for incentives and other "nudges" to motivate people to get shots. Even in authoritarian states, like China, it is not mandatory policy. Austria's extraordinary move came just days after it introduced a lockdown for the unvaccinated -- a restriction that went farther than other European nations in singling out the people who have been driving a worrying surge in hospitalizations. The series of decisions leading Austria to this point reflects the desperate position governments find themselves in as they look to protect public health systems and tentative economic recoveries as cases soar across Europe. The continent is once again ground zero for the global pandemic, despite the widespread availability of vaccines. It is that irony that has drawn the ire of Europe's leaders, who are growing increasingly frustrated by vaccine skeptics and other pockets of the...
    Four states with Republican legislatures have changed their laws to permit those who lose their jobs over vaccine mandates to still collect unemployment benefits. The governors of Florida, Iowa, Tennessee, and Kansas have all signed legislation that allows workers who are fired for their refusal to be vaccinated or who quit over vaccine mandates to collect unemployment. The changes are symbolic of Republican resistance across the country to President Joe Biden’s own federal mandates and could end up taking effect in other GOP-held states. Iowa was the first state to pass such a bill in late October. The legislation allows for medical and religious exemptions for workers and codifies their ability to collect benefits if they are terminated for refusing to be inoculated. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is also suing Biden over the mandates, said at the time that “no Iowan should be forced to lose their job or livelihood over the COVID-19 vaccine.” Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible 2024 Republican presidential contender and regular critic of Biden, signed legislation this month that prohibits private...
    President Joe Biden will not be booting out any unvaccinated federal workers until after the holiday season, a new Monday report reveals. The move hasn't been publicly announced yet but was written in a memo to government agencies by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and obtained by ABC. The directive allows agencies to pause on firing or suspending workers after Biden ordered all federal government employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 22. According to OMB, 92 percent of federal workers already have at least one dose.   Of the 3.5 million federal employees, 96.5 percent have complied with the mandate, meaning they are vaccinated or had their exemption approved. About 4.5 percent - more than 157,000 people - sought exemptions or were already exempt and about 3.5 percent haven't shown a record of vaccination nor sought an exemption.   The OMB news broke just before Biden addressed the nation on Monday over the highly contagious new Omicron coronavirus variant The percentage of federal workers vaccinated is far higher than the national average of roughly 70 percent RELATED...
    (CNN)Coming off the Thanksgiving holiday, the Biden administration enters a legal crucible as several high-profile lawsuits that carry significant consequences for President Joe Biden's legacy get key hearings in court. Cases concerning the January 6 investigation, abortion and Covid-19 vaccine mandates may have little in common in terms of subject matter. But together, they show how a conservative judiciary could hamstring Biden initiatives and create major messes for which the Biden administration will have few tools for cleaning up. Already, the Supreme Court has stifled Biden moves on immigration and coronavirus evictions policy. But even before major cases reach the Supreme Court, lower court judges appointed by former President Donald Trump and other Republicans are poised to throw the Biden Justice Department curveballs. On Tuesday, the Justice Department and the Democratic-controlled House will argue for the disclosure of certain Trump presidential records to congressional investigators probing the Capitol riot. On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban is constitutional, in a case that could bring the end of Roe v. Wade, the nearly...
              more   Congressmen Ben Cline (R-VA-06) and Bob Good (R-VA-05) are protesting Democrat-led COVID-19 vaccine mandates by co-sponsoring multiple bills. House Republicans lack the ability to pass bills without Democratic buy-in, but that hasn’t stopped them from introducing multiple bills targeting mandates in November. Cline touted his support for the bills in a Tuesday newsletter. “Businesses across the country are desperate for workers, and our Nation is facing a critical supply chain shortage. As grocery store shelves sit empty, and communities struggle to recover, President Biden should be doing everything possible to encourage Americans to show up to work. Instead, it is the Administration’s plan to implement a vaccine mandate that would force millions of Americans out of work,” he wrote. Congressmen Cline, Good, H. Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia-09) and Robert Wittman (R-Virginia-01) cosigned Congressman Fred Keller’s (R-Pennsylvania-12) House Joint Resolution 65, which protests the Department of Labor COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard. The standard requires employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccination. The mandate has been suspended pending the ongoing court process. Cline and Good...
    On occasion, for professional reasons, I must wade into the right wing-o-sphere. It is filled with the kind of rabid misinformation and fearmongering you might expect. The part that is most bothersome, however, is not that most of the stories are bogus in their presentation, it is that many of the stories are presented with such a bias as to completely change the meaning of the facts within the story. A case in point is a story that was generated from conservative talk radio host Jason Rantz and picked up by Fox News and subsequently pumped into the Apple News feed and Yahoo. The headline was damning: “Seattle 13-year-old watches father die as police funding cuts delay emergency response.” That is awful. So awful that Tucker Carlson gave Rantz a shot at primetime misinformation from the Fox News teat. Everything about this story sounds sad. Have protesters’ calls for police departments to have their funding used towards other social services somehow led to this poor young teen losing his father? Have vaccine mandates by local municipalities led to this child losing his father? No....
    ROME — The German Bishops’ Conference has “emphatically” called on all Catholics to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling the measure a “moral duty.” “These days we are witnessing the progression of the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in almost unstoppable drama,” the bishops said this week. “The incidence figures, new infections and deaths are reaching alarming proportions.” “We emphatically call on Catholics and all people in our country to be vaccinated as far as possible,” they stated. “In this pandemic, vaccination is an obligation of justice, solidarity, and charity.” “From an ethical point of view, it is a moral duty,” they declared. “We have to protect ourselves and others. Vaccination is the most effective way of doing this,” they added. The U.S. bishops have been divided over the right to conscientious objection to the vaccines, as well as over vaccine mandates by government and business. Among the sharpest responses to vaccine mandates was that of the Colorado bishops, who registered satisfaction that the Denver vaccine mandate expressly included “accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs,” insisting that this is...
    Former President Donald Trump slammed the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, inflation, the southern border crisis and more on Friday in a wide-ranging interview, but still plugged the COVID-19 vaccine that he was 'very proud' to get.  Trump told FOX Business' Stuart Varney that he 'wanted' Biden 'to be successful,' but claims his handling of COVID-19 and implementing vaccine mandates was a 'disaster.'  'Look, I wanted [Biden] to be successful on the whole thing on COVID – or as I call it, the China virus,' Trump told Varney on 'Varney & Co.' on Friday.  'I wanted him to be successful. He's been totally unsuccessful. It's a disaster what's happened. 'I think he's done a terrible job on the coronavirus.'  Trump admitted he 'didn't want to talk to China too much' after COVID-19.  Scroll down for video  Former President Donald Trump appeared on Stuart Varney's show on Fox on Friday to discuss the Biden Administration, which he called a 'disaster'  Trump claimed Biden isn't giving the American people 'what they bargained for'  He also called out inflation and said 'the Americans...
    In January 2022, President Joe Biden’s administration will begin implementing a Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandate on all cross-border travelers, primarily truck drivers, at United States land ports of entry while exempting illegal border crossers. As Breitbart News reported, Biden’s administration is planning to require the vaccine for all essential cross-border travelers entering U.S. land ports of entry. The mandate is mostly be targeted at truck drivers who cross between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. “President Joe Biden will require essential, nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers, government and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22, the administration planned to announce,” the Associated Press reports. Noticeably exempt from the vaccine mandate are border crossers and illegal aliens, hundreds of thousands of whom successfully get released into the U.S. interior as a result of Biden’s expansive Catch and Release program. For months, Biden and White House officials have refused to endorse a vaccine mandate for border crossers even as millions of Americans are facing layoffs if they do not take the vaccine. “They’re not intending...
    Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical advisor, told MSNBC’s Ari Melber Monday that he preferred using the word “requirement” instead of “mandate” because the latter has a “tinge to it.” Fauci was asked about states that have implemented executive orders or legislation limiting vaccine and mask mandates, with Melber specifically referencing Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Fauci said that mandates work, but also that he prefers to call them “requirements.” “We do know that mandates, or let’s call them requirements, mandate has a special little tinge to it, that requirements work,” Fauci said. (RELATED: REPORT: Fauci Spotted Maskless At Elite DC Media Party) “If you look at what’s happened with United Airlines, about 99% of their employees are vaccinated, Tyson’s Food, Houston Methodist Medical System, they do work,” he continued. “We also know from good studies that masks work. They’re not 100%, but they do work in preventing infection.” Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies employing more than 100 people has been tied up in a court battle since being announced earlier in November, but a number of...
    Spear warned that vaccine mandates "will have vast unintended consequences." "The U.S. is already facing unprecedented supply chain disruptions and delays due to many factors, including significant labor shortages, production shutdowns, a shortage of raw materials, and pent-up consumer demand," Spear continued, adding, "Our data shows that a vaccine mandate may very well further cripple the supply chain throughout the country by forcing up to 13% of drivers to leave the industry entirely." Trucking group Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also went after the administration over vaccine mandates. The organization's spokeswoman, Norita Taylor, called the jab requirement an example of "how unnecessary government mandates can force experienced owner-operators and independent truckers out of business" and warned that the mandate would "send safe drivers off the road," the AP said. Canadian truckers aren't happy about it either. In a story from the Toronto Star headlined, "A trucking nightmare: Supply chain horrors feared as thousands of unvaccinated drivers won't be allowed to cross U.S.-Canada border," Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski said, "This is making a bad situation a lot worse....
    Two actors on the long-running soap opera General Hospital left the show over the ABC Network's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Steve Burton, who had a role on the show since 1992, announced Tuesday he was fired for not complying with the vaccine policy. “I wanted you to hear it from me personally. Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go due to the vaccine mandate,” Burton said in an Instagram video. “I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied, which hurts. But this is also about personal freedom to me. I don’t think anyone should lose their livelihood over this.” BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO REQUIRE VACCINES FOR ESSENTIAL BORDER CROSSERS ABC, which is owned by Disney, enforces a vaccine mandate, although comparable soap operas on other networks such as NBC’s Days of Our Lives and CBS’s The Young and the Restless have not implemented a similar policy. Burton said he was grateful for the fans he gained in the nearly 30 years since starting the show and looks forward to...
    (CNN)The Biden administration's Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday released a detailed breakdown of agency compliance with the federal government Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which went into effect via executive order earlier this week, linking high levels of compliance as proof mandates work to boost vaccinations.Data provided by the OMB broke down the percentage of employees in compliance, meaning those employees who have had at least one dose of a vaccine or have submitted or received an exemption request, and the percentage of employees who have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. There are some differences between those two numbers for each agency, per data shared by the OMB.The Department of Transportation, for example, has the highest level of compliance with the mandate at 99.6%, though just 90.6% of its workforce has had at least one vaccine shot. The agency with the highest level of vaccination is the US Agency for International Development, with 97.8% of its workforce having at least one shot. 96.4% of Department of Health and Human Services personnel have had at least one...
    Protesters rally against vaccine mandates on November 20, 2021 in New York City.Stephanie Keith | Getty Images As the latest wave of Covid-19 sweeps across Europe, governments across the region are once again tightening restrictions, with some specifically cracking down on their unvaccinated populations. In Austria, which has the second-lowest Covid vaccination rate in western Europe, immunizations against the virus are set to become mandatory from Feb. 1. Austria is the first country in Europe to introduce a vaccine mandate for its entire population, but it isn't the first nation in the world to do so. Last February, Indonesia made Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for its citizens. Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and the small island state of Micronesia have all introduced similar measures.   Germany could be the next country to follow suit, with several German lawmakers openly calling for mandatory vaccination to be introduced and one penning an op-ed about how such a mandate would stop "13 million adults bringing an industrial nation like Germany to the brink of desperation."Ethical justificationJulian Savulescu, director of Oxford University's Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics,...
    NEW YORK (WABC) -- "The Countdown" is here to get you caught up with all of the day's political news.You can watch it online, on the ABC7NY app or on our Connected TV apps for Fire, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. Click here to learn more.Today's political headlines:US to release 50 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve to ease energy costsPresident Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered a record-setting 50 million barrels of oil released from America's strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs, in coordination with other major energy consuming nations, including India, the United Kingdom and China.When motorists in NYC, NJ could see relief from high gas pricesWith gas prices rising, the president offered a Thanksgiving gift to Americans feeling pressure at the pump. Motorists in New York and New Jersey say high prices at the pump are impacting their decisions about driving.De Blasio calls on Gov. Hochul to institute vax mandate for MTA workersMayor Bill de Blasio is calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to implement a vaccination requirement for MTA workers."Here is an...
    Thanksgiving break has been extended for hundreds of thousands of public school students across the country, as the number of educators in schools dips below critical mass. The situation has become so dire that some districts are considering walking back previous COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff. In Western Michigan, 20 schools canceled classes for the entirety of the week.  Classrooms in Chicago’s District 65 were also shuttered leading up to the holiday. Students in Montgomery County, Maryland, will have an extra day off this week, while the public school system is now modifying its vaccination policy to soften staffing issues. The Montgomery County School District tells Fox News that the 463 staff members who have not attested to their vaccination status will have to do so or risk loss of pay on Nov. 24 plus progressive disciplinary action, "up to and including termination." Rather than immediate termination, it’s a "balancing act between safety and the need to have all employees in place for school and office operations." This comes as districts nationwide are attempting to cope with a massive void...
    The Kansas State Legislature passed a measure this week designed to protect workers from employer vaccine mandates, requiring businesses to provide wide-ranging exemptions. While the bill allows employers to have vaccine requirements in place, it forces them to allow for exemptions, including for medical and wide-ranging religious reasons. It also aims to offer unemployment benefits to individuals who were forced to leave their job due to the vaccine. The Senate version of the bill was more aggressive. It included an amendment prohibiting businesses from imposing vaccine requirements, but that amendment did not make it into the final version. According to the Kansas Reflector: The final version was watered down by dropping a Senate amendment forbidding Kansas businesses from imposing vaccination requirements on employees and an amendment banning discrimination against workers based on vaccination status. The settlement deleted a 2023 sunset of the law and retained a severability clause to preserve the bill if portions were successfully challenged in court. In addition, the package would funnel civil fines as high as $50,000 paid by businesses for violation of the law to...
    Republican Kansas state lawmakers on Monday moved to challenge the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandates, forcing Gov. Laura Kelly (D) to convene a special session to look into ways to fight against President BidenJoe BidenBiden to speak on economy Tuesday, with fed pick imminent NAACP president calls Rittenhouse verdict 'a warning shot that vigilante justice is allowed' Democrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate MORE's vaccine mandate for businesses. One method Kansas Republicans considered was requiring employers to accept all religious exemption requests to vaccines, while others sought to guarantee that workers fired for not getting vaccinated would be eligible for unemployment benefits, according to The Associated Press. Earlier this month, state Senate President Ty Masterson (R) urged lawmakers to convene a special session before Thanksgiving specifically to consider proposals that would it make it easier for workers to use religious exemptions to vaccine mandates. On Monday, the Kansas Senate voted to approve a bill with these proposed measures as well as a ban on private employers issuing vaccine mandates. The AP noted that Republican leaders debated whether other measures were...
    Around 95% of federal workers received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday's deadline set by President Joe Biden, the White House said on Monday. The other 5% have submitted exception applications that were already approved or are pending.  Biden signed an executive order in September mandating the vaccine for all federal employees and they have until the end of Monday to provide proof of their vaccination or receive an exemption. For those who do not comply with the mandate or show proof of their exemption, there will be an education process and additional steps 'if needed.' 'Agencies are beginning an education and counseling process, followed by additional enforcement steps over time if needed,' a senior administration official told DailyMail.com. The federal government is the largest employer in the US with more than 3.5 million employees around the nation. The latest vaccination figures mean at least 175,000 have still not received the shot or applied for an exemption.  Around 95% of federal workers received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday's deadline set by...
              more   In an 11-page order released on Saturday, U.S District Judge M. Casey Rodgers rejected Florida’s motion to block a Biden administration rule that requires workers at hospitals and other health-care related facilities be vaccinated against COVID. The decision was in response to a motion filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody seeking a preliminary injunction against the federal rule which takes effect December 6. Moody’s argument contended that the requirement would increase health-care staffing shortages. However, Judge Rodgers concluded that Florida had shown “irreparable harm” to justify an injunction. Rodgers wrote in the order, “On review of the record, the court finds no adequate showing that irreparable injury will occur in the absence of a TRO (temporary restraining order) or preliminary injunction prior to December 6, 2021. The affidavits (of state officials) in support of the motion include assertions of how the various agencies and institutions anticipate they may be adversely impacted by the mandate. In particular, the affidavits express opinions of agency heads who ‘estimate’ that they ‘may’ lose a certain percentage or a number of employees,...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — GOP leaders fighting President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates are embracing natural immunity as substitute. They contend that people who have recovered from the virus have enough immunity and antibodies to not need COVID-19 vaccines, and the concept has been invoked by Republicans as a sort of stand-in for vaccines. READ MORE: Dolphins Win Third Straight, Top Jets 24-17Florida wrote natural immunity into state law this week as GOP lawmakers elsewhere are pushing similar measures to sidestep vaccine mandates. Lawsuits over the mandates have also begun leaning on the idea. Conservative federal lawmakers have implored regulators to consider it when formulating mandates. Scientists acknowledge that people previously infected with COVID-19 have some level of immunity but that vaccines offer a more consistent level of protection. Natural immunity is also far from a one-size-fits-all scenario, making it complicated to enact sweeping exemptions to vaccines. That’s because how much immunity COVID-19 survivors have depends on how long ago they were infected, how sick they were, and if the virus variant they had is different from mutants circulating now. For...
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republicans fighting President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandates are wielding a new weapon against the White House rules: natural immunity. They contend that people who have recovered from the virus have enough immunity and antibodies to not need COVID-19 vaccines, and the concept has been invoked by Republicans as a sort of stand-in for vaccines. Florida wrote natural immunity into state law this week as GOP lawmakers elsewhere are pushing similar measures to sidestep vaccine mandates. Lawsuits over the mandates have also begun leaning on the idea. Conservative federal lawmakers have implored regulators to consider it when formulating mandates. Scientists acknowledge that people previously infected with COVID-19 have some level of immunity but that vaccines offer a more consistent level of protection. Natural immunity is also far from a one-size-fits-all scenario, making it complicated to enact sweeping exemptions to vaccines. That’s because how much immunity COVID-19 survivors have depends on how long ago they were infected, how sick they were, and if the virus variant they had is different from mutants circulating now. For example,...
    Recent legislation signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is forcing companies to slam the brakes on coronavirus vaccine mandates for employees.  "It appears at this point, the hospital is calling their staff back into work," Florida attorney Greg Crosslin told WJHG of Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital calling for their staff to return to work after they were terminated for not getting the vaccine.  DeSantis signed multiple bills regarding vaccine mandates on Thursday during Florida’s special legislative session. Under one of the bills, private employers must give workers the option of opting out of the vaccine mandate, including medical and religious exemptions. FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) DESANTIS BILL SIGNING INTERRUPTED BY 'LET'S GO, BRANDON!' CHANTS "I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs, and today we made that the law," DeSantis said in a press release last week. "Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates, and we had a...
    One of the largest protests in Vienna history today to stop their full lockdown and mandatory \u201cget the jab or go to jail\u201d law.pic.twitter.com/N87zkDENZo — Aaron Ginn (@Aaron Ginn) 1637420388 Massive protest in Vienna, Austria today against the new lockdown, plus mandatory vaccinations which the tyrannical Austrian government plans to implement starting in February.pic.twitter.com/bOjoBbjj5y — Brittany Sellner (@Brittany Sellner) 1637411052 In Italy, thousands of Roman protesters rallied against the country's "Green Pass" – the country's certificate of COVID-19 vaccination required to go into workplaces, restaurants, gyms, theaters, and sports venues. NEW Thousands gather in Rome, Italy in protest against country\u2019s health passpic.twitter.com/hqGjnGRYZb — Insider Paper (@Insider Paper) 1637450332 In Croatia, thousands gathered in the capital of Zagreb to demonstrate against the government possibly introducing a COVID-19 vaccine pass that would be needed to enter stores, restaurants, gyms, and cinemas. Croatia against Covid pass.pic.twitter.com/Mw41pSb68X — Ivan Vilibor Sin\u010di\u0107 MEP (@Ivan Vilibor Sin\u010di\u0107 MEP) 1637424471 Croatiapic.twitter.com/Xz7JbauBEh — lucy johnston (@lucy johnston) 1637444592 In Denmark, the government is considering reinstituting COVID-19 restrictions that they just lifted in September....
    St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn't get everything he wanted this week from state lawmakers in his campaign against federal coronavirus vaccine mandates.But in a fast-moving three-day special session criticized by Democrats as "political theater," the Republican-controlled state legislature on Wednesday handed DeSantis plenty of firepower to pressure businesses and hospitals not to go along with President Joe Biden's push to get the country's workforce inoculated.Acting mostly along party lines, the Florida House and Senate passed a package of four bills protecting workers who remain defiant against Covid-19 vaccinations. Once signed by DeSantis -- which is expected in the coming days -- Florida will become the first state with a law imposing fines on companies that require a Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. DeSantis, a first-term governor often mentioned as a future presidential contender, wasted little time claiming victory. Republicans seize on federal vaccine mandates to fire up their base and try to court new voters worried about the economy "I look forward to signing legislation that will protect their jobs and the jobs of all...
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Republicans approved a sweeping bill Wednesday to hobble coronavirus vaccine mandates in businesses, rejecting claims that they were sacrificing public health to hand Gov. Ron DeSantis a win in his fight against White House virus rules. Lawmakers in GOP-controlled statehouse expedited the measure, along with a package of virus bills, after hours of debate in which Republicans maintained they were protecting workers from onerous mandates by the federal government. “If you want to get a vaccine, you can get a vaccine. If you don’t want to get a vaccine, you can choose not to get a vaccine,” said Sen. Danny Burgess, a Republican. “That’s the entire purpose of this bill, trusting Floridians and allowing us to make that choice for ourselves.” DeSantis, a Republican, called the special legislative session on vaccine mandates as he wages a legal and media campaign against vaccine mandates pushed by Democratic President Joe Biden. The governor has become a star in the GOP through his opposition to lockdowns and other virus rules, boosting his profile as he runs...