President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE on Thursday said he wants to see local governments, private companies and schools move towards vaccine mandates while laying out the administration’s next efforts to get more Americans vaccinated.
“I’d like to see them continue to move in that direction,” the president told reporters following a speech on COVID-19 vaccination efforts from the White House.
“That’s why I pointed out, I asked the Justice Department to determine whether that is, they’re able to do that legally. And they can. Local communities can do that, local businesses can do that,” he said.
The president directed all federal employees and onsite contractors to show they are vaccinated or submit to regular COVID-19 testing on Thursday. He said in his remarks that it’s still unclear if the federal government can mandate that others get vaccinated.
“It’s still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet,” he said.
A growing number of businesses and private colleges have mandated vaccines. The president's comments on vaccine mandates come as COVID-19 cases rise in the U.S. due to the spread of the delta variant.
Labor organization AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka earlier this week expressed his support for vaccine mandates for workers.
Biden, in his remarks, also called on state and local governments to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated Americans as an extra incentive to boost inoculation rates.
Updated on Aug. 2 at 12:15 p.m.