President Joe Biden went off on Republicans that he believes are causing “bullying in schools” by thwarting guidelines put out by officials that are designed to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while the governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their job — talk about bullying in schools,” Biden went on to say in a speech delivered in the State Dining Room on Thursday. He then added that for those whose pay is being threatened, “I promise you, I will have your back.”
“If these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” the president stated, adding that the federal government has already started taking legal action against states they claim are undermining local authorities. While Biden didn’t call out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by name, the president has had repeated back-and-forths with him over the course of the last several months.
The president unveiled a six-pronged strategy designed to limit infection rates as children return to classrooms this fall and businesses itch to resume normal operations.
Besides getting more shots into the arms of teachers and children ages 12 and up, Biden is calling for sweeping mitigation measures, such as widespread mask-wearing and tests.
The president’s plan calls for vaccine mandates for some federal workers, boosting access to free COVID-19 tests, and requiring mask-wearing. By invoking the Defense Production Act, he said the cost of self-administered rapid tests would drop by about a third.
The playbook will also level punitive measures, doubling fines for people who refuse to wear masks while traveling.
“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden went on to say, slamming travelers who’ve got into altercations publicly with flight attendants and others over these kind of measures. “And by the way, show some respect.”
The president also said that he would not allow the unvaccinated to hold back the economy.
“We cannot let unvaccinated [people undo] this progress,” Biden stated.