President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he would be ordering the Labor Department to impose a mandate on businesses with more than 100 employees requiring all workers to either receive a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing.
Just months earlier, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated her belief that the federal government does not have the authority to force Americans to receive a vaccine, as Breitbart notes.
“A matter of privacy”
Despite having expressed that sentiment, it does not appear that Pelosi is speaking out in opposition to Biden’s latest executive decree.
During a weekly press conference in April, a reporter asked the speaker how many lawmakers were vaccinated and whether mask and social distancing guidelines might be relaxed if vaccines became mandatory.
“S0 here is the thing,” Pelosi replied, according to a transcript from her office. “We are — we cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That’s just not what we can do.”
She went on to declare that it is “a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn’t” vaccinated, acknowledging that she cannot obtain a list of unvaccinated members so that she “can go encourage them or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated.”
Pelosi reiterated her assertion a moment later, saying: “So if we could, but we can’t require vaccinations for the members, much less for the American people.”
Biden asserts executive authority
There was little room for interpretation in Pelosi’s concrete determination that vaccine mandates were out of the question.
Biden had already implemented an executive order requiring federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated. Many critics insist his latest mandate seeks to issue such a requirement on private citizens despite the option of receiving weekly COVID-19 tests.
As of this writing, Pelosi has not made a public statement on the development.
It remains to be seen whether anyone in the mainstream media will seek to press her for a response to the apparent disconnect between her prior statements and the president’s new mandate.
In any case, there are sure to be plenty of critics eager to argue, as Pelosi did earlier this year, that Biden’s legal authority to institute the order is dubious at best. A series of federal court challenges will likely be announced in the near future.