HOUSTON — President Joe Biden signed two executive orders requiring that federal workers and contractors get the COVID-19 vaccine. Someone asked the VERIFY team whether that also applies to people on Medicare and food stamps.
President Biden made the announcement during a speech from the White House on Sept 9, stating “all companies with more than 100 employees must ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. That includes “all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid … those who work in hospitals and other medical facilities.”
Kevin asked the VERIFY team, “Are people on welfare and food stamps required to have the vaccine to get benefits?”
We have two sources for this — President Biden’s Executive Order Requiring Coronavirus Vaccination for all Federal Employees, and Dr. Anthony Kreis, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia who specializes in constitutional law and civil rights.
First, let’s take a look at the president’s order. It states, “Each agency shall implement, to the extent consistent with applicable law, a program to require COVID-19 vaccination for all of its federal employees, with exceptions only as required by law.”
“I think what the administration and the federal government is trying to do now is focus on places where transmission of COVID is highly problematic and could cause problems for other folks,” Kreis said.
But Biden’s executive orders do not apply to some groups, like U.S. Postal Workers, undocumented immigrants, Congress or welfare recipients. Kreis says that is because, legally, the President does not have the power to force them to get vaccinated. That would take an act of Congress.
“Congress has laid out the various types of criteria that administrative agencies have to use, and the executive branch can use, to effect who's eligible and when and why. So, you really can't just attach conditions on those kinds of benefits, where you can regulate the workplace, or things of that nature, because that's in the authority of the executive branch to do,” Kreis said.
So, we can Verify that, President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers does not apply to Medicare and food assistance recipients.
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