Business groups don’t oppose Biden vaccine requirement
Powerful business groups whose members are directly affected by President Biden’s recently announced coronavirus vaccine requirement applauded Biden’s effort to boost vaccinations but said that the administration needs to provide more details about its plan.
While business interests want to hear specifics about how businesses will enforce vaccination or regular testing, they did not lash out against Biden’s mandate as GOP politicians did Thursday.
National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons on Thursday said he shared Biden’s goal of getting Americans vaccinated, but expressed concern about the cost of implementing the requirement.
“We look forward to working with the administration to ensure any vaccine requirements are structured in a way that does not negatively impact the operations of manufacturers that have been leading through the pandemic to keep Americans safe,” Timmons said in a statement. “It is important that undue compliance costs do not burden manufacturers, large and small alike.”
The Biden administration said it will soon provide more details on its vaccine rule, which will require all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. The requirement could affect nearly 80 million workers, and businesses that fail to comply could face fines up to $14,000 per violation.
“President Biden’s announcement prompts critical questions that require immediate clarification,” Geoff Freeman, president of the Consumer Brands Association, said in a statement. “As with other mandates, the devil is in the details. Without additional clarification for the business community, employee anxieties and questions will multiply.”
The association, which represents packaged goods companies such as General Mills and Coca-Cola, wants clarity on what kind of documentation businesses will require to verify vaccination status, which employees will be responsible for handling testing and how booster shots will factor in, among other issues.
The Business Roundtable, which lobbies on behalf of some of the largest U.S. employers, backed Biden’s plan Thursday, stating that it “welcomes the Biden administration’s continued vigilance in the fight against COVID.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s most powerful corporate lobbying group, was less committal on Friday.
“The Chamber will carefully review the details of the executive orders and associated regulations and will work to ensure that employers have the resources, guidance, and flexibility necessary to ensure the safety of their employees and customers and comply with public health requirements,” said a Chamber spokesperson.
Some of the largest U.S. companies, including United Airlines, Tyson Foods, CVS Health and Microsoft, have already announced vaccine requirements for their own employees.
Private vaccination requirements ramped up last month amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 and after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.