Republican lawmakers accuse White House of pressuring airlines on vaccines

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October 7 (Businesshala) – Two senior US lawmakers on Thursday accused the White House of pressuring US airlines to vaccinate their employees for COVID-19 by the December 8 deadline for federal contractors or face firing. to be done.

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Representative Sam Graves, the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Garrett Graves, the senior Republican on the aviation subcommittee, wrote to President Joe Biden on Thursday, saying that “it is unacceptable that your administration is using the threat of contractual measures as a coercion.” To exclude American workers in an important national industry.”

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The lawmakers, who are not related, cited a Businesshala story that White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Ziantse told American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and Southwest Airlines (LUV). Chief Executive Officers were called. n) On September 30, urging employees to follow United Airlines’ lead in mandating vaccines.

Giants on Wednesday praised airlines for making vaccines mandatory. “Vaccination requirements work. New data each day reinforces that fact,” he said.

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The three airlines and the White House declined comment. Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have both announced that they will meet the December 8 deadline for federal contractors. Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on Sunday that the airline had not made a decision.

President Joe Biden was in Illinois on Thursday for vaccines and praised United’s vaccine mandate after meeting with United CEO Scott Kirby.

The letter noted that since March 2020, Congress awarded a total of $54 billion in taxpayer funding to American airlines for payroll costs, which ended just last week.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this ill-conceived mandate, which will result in the dismissal of employees whose jobs were saved over the past 18 months at huge taxpayer expense,” he wrote.

“This unilateral mandate and arbitrary deadline will only serve to disrupt airline operations and increase the likelihood of canceled flights.”

Biden signed an executive order last month requiring federal contractors to mandate employee vaccines, with the White House later setting a December 8 deadline.

IBM (IBM.N) announced Thursday that it will mandate employee vaccines, with a growing number of federal contractors choosing to comply.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Burcrot

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