President Joe Biden ( Photo by Adam Schultz)
President Joe Biden ( Photo by Adam Schultz)

As the Delta variant spreads across the United States, and COVID-19 cases continue to surge, the CDC yesterday walked back on its previous positions on masks, explaining that vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans should wear masks indoors and in schools. 

Yesterday, President Biden announced that requiring all federal employees is currently “under consideration.” 

“A key goal of ours is to ensure we have a sustainable model to keep employers across the country to make sure that they work in a safe workplace,” stated Jean-Pierre. 

Jean-Pierre stressed that the President’s goal for these past six months of his Presidency has been to “curb this pandemic.” 

The Deputy Press Secretary added, “But it’s going to take all of us to do that and our message continues to be we have to make sure that people get vaccinated, and we’re going to continue to do that, as we’ve done these last six months.”

She mentioned the idea of “attestation of vaccination” for federal employees. Jean-Pierre explained that this means confirming vaccination status, abiding by stringent COVID-19 protocols, such as mandatory mask-wearing, even in communities not with high or substantial spread, and regular testing for federal employees. Pierre stated that attestation of vaccination, which would be a really helpful way to ensure a safe workplace for employees,  “Is one option under strong consideration.”

So far the Biden administration has gotten more than 300 million U.S. shots in arms. According to Jean-Pierre, a total of “60% of the population is now fully vaccinated” where 80% of that includes groups of the most vulnerable which are those 65 and older. 

However, this seems to not be enough. Jean-Pierre expressed that because largely unvaccinated people continue to spread the virus, proper protocols need to be put in place to keep Americans safe. 

“As a large employer, the largest in this country, who cares about the individuals who keep the government running, we have an obligation to be good stewards of the workforce and ensure their health and their safety. We’re taking action to protect the federal workforce so that they can continue to execute on the hard and important work of government,” stated Jean-Pierre. 

The Deputy Press Secretary ensured that the Biden administration is listening closely and following guidance from the CDC. 

“We listen to the scientists, we listen to the experts. This is a public health situation. This is not about politics at all, this is about saving lives. And this is what the President is all about. He wants to make sure that we are saving lives,” said Jean-Pierre. 

She added that we are, “Now at a point where we have to double down and make it very clear to people that we can’t let the pandemic win, we have to continue to fight.” 

On the topic of government assistance for Americans struggling due to the effects of the pandemic, Jean-Pierre stressed that the Administration will continue all government efforts to make sure Americans know rental assistance is available. As for employment benefits from the government, Pierre confirms they are set to expire in September. 

Jean-Pierre stated that it is “Something that we’re going to keep an eye out. Look, our country and our economy are in a much stronger place than we were in January. That’s just a fact.” 

The Biden administration continues to advocate for the importance of vaccines to the American people. Biden is set to address the nation this evening to address the spread of the Delta variant and those who are still unvaccinated.

Infrastructure 

After what seems to be months of debate, Jean-Pierre announced that the President and a bipartisan group of Senators announced a deal on a “historic” infrastructure investment that will drive economic growth and create good-paying middle-class jobs. “The President is deeply thankful to the Senators who he’s worked closely with these past few months,” stated Pierre. 

She stated that this package will mean “break-through investments” in the nation’s roads and bridges in public transit and rail, connecting every American including underserved rural areas, to high-speed internet. She stated that this is the “most significant investment” in clean energy transmission and electric vehicle infrastructure in our history, as well as a historic investment in clean drinking water. 

Jean-Pierre expressed that along with the President’s Build Back Better agenda, the bipartisan deal will help create 2 million jobs a year for the next decade. She stressed that the deal is going to create good-paying union jobs, building roads and bridges working on rail, building unprecedented infrastructure for electric vehicles, replacing poisonous lead water pipes that are hurting our children, and building new more resilient structures. 

Yesterday a total of 67 senators, including 17 Republicans and 50 Democrats voted to move forward with a consideration of this package. The Deputy Press Secretary stated that this, “Is not only welcomed because of the life-changing benefits, but also because of the healthy signal about American democracy it set to the world.”

She stated that President Biden’s colleagues in both parties deserve “enormous credit for that.” 

The President will continue to fight for his Build Back Better agenda, which would make transformational investments in human infrastructure and on climate, on education, the care economy, and on making healthcare affordable while extending the biggest middle-class tax cut in history. 

Economy 

Jean-Pierre explained that today’s Q2 GDP numbers are “further proof of the progress we’ve had jump-starting our economy.”  

Today’s data shows that the U.S. economy has now made up the losses of the last 18 months and surpassed the pre-pandemic GDP peak. “In the first half of this year, the economy grew at the latest rate in nearly 40 years,” said Pierre.  

She credited this success to President Biden’s economic plans, plans to curb the pandemic, and plans to deliver economic relief to families, small businesses, and communities across the country. 

She reminded the public that the Administration created a total of 850,000 new jobs in the month of June, which adds to a total of 3 million jobs created under President Biden in these first 6 months.

“Consumer confidence is up, jobs are up, personal income is up, and unemployment is down in all 389 metro areas in the U.S. compared to last years,” said Jean-Pierre.  

Jaala Brown

Jaala Brown is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.