Biden to meet with business executives on vaccine requirements

Biden to meet with business executives on vaccine requirements
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President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE on Wednesday will meet with business executives at the White House to discuss coronavirus vaccine requirements for the private sector.

The meeting comes roughly a week after Biden announced a new Labor Department rule that will require businesses with more than 100 employees to require that workers either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to testing. The White House believes the rule is necessary to get more of the U.S. population vaccinated and eradicate the virus. 

Wednesday's meeting will include an array of executives, including Microsoft President Brad Smith, Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer, Kaiser Permanente Chair and CEO Greg Adams, Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Columbia Sportswear President and CEO Tim Boyle and Louisiana State University President William Tate, according to a White House official. The Wall Street Journal first reported the attendees.

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Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia President and CEO Madeline Bell, Business Roundtable President and CEO Josh Bolten and the founder and CEO of Seattle-based Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Molly Moon Neitzel, are also expected to attend.

The businesses and organizations represented at the meeting have either instituted vaccine requirements or otherwise expressed support for Biden’s announcement last week.

For example, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, leaders put in place a vaccine requirement for all staff in July and almost 90 percent of its workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19 with a month before the deadline to get the vaccine, according to the White House.

“The President will discuss their leadership on putting into place strong COVID-19 requirements that help keep a safe workplace,” the White House official said. “This event will also serve as a rallying cry for more businesses across the country to step up and institute similar measures.”

Biden laid out the new rule for businesses last week as part of a more aggressive plan to address the pandemic that also included a mandate for most federal government employees and contractors to get vaccination, without the alternative option for testing.

The emergency rule is being developed by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

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While polls show that a majority of the American public supports vaccine mandates, Biden has endured a barrage of criticism from Republican elected officials who accuse him of federal overreach. Some GOP governors have threatened legal action against the business rule.

A Morning Consult-Politico poll released this week showed that 58 percent support Biden’s vaccine requirement for workers.

Biden told reporters Tuesday evening after returning from a trip out West that he believes there is “positive support for mandates” but that there is “always going to be a small percentage who say ‘no.’ ” Biden noted his meeting with business leaders Wednesday afternoon to discuss the topic.

Updated at 8:50 a.m.