Biden to meet Wednesday with execs on COVID vaccine mandate
President Joe Biden is expected to meet Wednesday with executives from some of the country’s biggest companies, including Disney, Microsoft and Walgreens, to discuss his sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced last week.
The execs heading for the White House Wednesday are expected to discuss strategies for expanding vaccine requirements at their companies and whether they’ve seen success increasing vaccinations among workers, The Wall Street Journal reported, a White House official confirmed to The Post.
Among those expected to attend are: Microsoft president Brad Smith, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer, and Kaiser Permanente CEO Greg Adams, the outlet reported.
Louisiana State University President William Tate, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Madeline Bell, Business Roundtable CEO Josh Bolten and CEO of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Molly Moon Neitzel are also expected to attend the meeting.
“In order for us to get back to any kind of a normal business and life experience, people have to get vaccinated,” said Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, who’s also reportedly expected to attend the meeting, told The Wall Street Journal.
The meeting comes after the White House last week unveiled its new COVID-19 Action Plan, which said the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working on an emergency rule that will call for companies with 100 or more employees to mandate the vaccine or rollout a weekly testing regimen.
Administration officials have said companies that violate the rule could be slapped with penalties of $14,000 per violation.
Boyle, whose company employs roughly 4,000 people in the US, told the Journal that he supports Biden’s vaccine mandate.
He added that Columbia has encouraged employees to get vaccinated, but stopped short of requiring it due to fears that people would quit amid a nationwide labor shortage that’s hit retailers particularly hard.
“This is actually quite a good thing for leveling the playing field,” he said. “Companies like ourselves that want to have employees encouraged to the highest degree to get vaccinated — this is going to give us the ability to do that and not put our business at risk.”
The White House vaccine mandate, though, has drawn criticism. The Consumer Brands Association, which represents consumer goods giants like Coca-Cola, Kellogg and General Mills, sent a letter to the White House on Monday demanding “immediate clarity” on the details of the order.
And on Tuesday, Arizona sued the Biden administration, with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich accusing Biden of government overreach.
“Under our Constitution, the President is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally. And even George III wouldn’t have dreamed that he could enact such sweeping policies by royal decree alone,” he said.
“The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda,” he added.