President Joe Biden’s sweeping federal employee vaccine mandate announced this week does not apply to members of Congress, employees who work for Congress or the federal court system, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Thursday.
Through an Executive Order issued by Biden, all federal workers — including the White House, all federal agencies and all members of the armed services — must take the COVID-19 vaccine with no testing option to opt out. However, the new rule does not apply to members of Congress, congressional employees or employees within the federal court system.
The president’s order states that he will “require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated” and that the order will “be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government.”
“As part of this effort, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the National Institute of Health will complete implementation of their previously announced vaccination requirements that cover 2.5 million people,” Biden’s plan continued.
On Thursday, President Biden explained the vaccine mandate, saying anyone who wants “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,” he added.
In addition to the vaccine mandate for federal employees, all businesses with more than 100 employees will be required by the Department of Labor to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing for their workers. Businesses that reject the policy could face penalties up to $14,000 per violation, a senior Biden administration official said, according to the Washington Post. Companies will also be required to give workers paid time off to receive the vaccine under the new rules.
Illegal immigrants continuing to cross into the U.S. from Mexico were also not included in a wide-ranging COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced by Biden that could force an estimated 80 million American workers to get the shot.
Nearly 30 percent of immigrants currently held in federal detention facilities are refusing the vaccine – an option they are given, according to Fox News.
Additionally, more than 18 percent of illegal immigrant families who unlawfully entered the United States earlier this year tested positive for COVID before being released by Border Patrol. At least 20 percent of illegal immigrant unaccompanied minors also tested positive for the coronavirus.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s DHS is not vaccinating illegal immigrants, but “other international organizations” are vaccinating them as they cross the border.