This next wave of executive action comes after Biden, hours after he was sworn in, signed an order requiring face-covering and social distancing on federal property and canceled the Trump administration’s attempt to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization. But during Many of the recent moves affect executive power, some depending on the cooperation of Congress or the governors.
“We need Congress to act quickly,” Zients said, calling for the $ 1.9 trillion Covid Relief Act that Biden revealed last week to be passed. “We will only overcome this pandemic together. It’s the only way out of the dark. “
At the top of Biden’s list is an order invoking the Defense Production Act to increase supplies of all of the materials needed to get the vaccines into arms and expedite testing. The order includes N95 masks and other protective equipment, testing machines, rapid test kits and syringes that can be used to maximize the amount of Covid vaccine that can be extracted from vials.
Tim Manning, a former FEMA official who will be Biden’s Covid-19 supply coordinator, said he saw the DPA as just one of many tools the new administration could use in the future.
“We will do everything we can to make sure we have an adequate supply of vaccines,” he said.
Biden will also order the creation of a pandemic testing committee, modeled on President Franklin Roosevelt’s War Production Committee, with the role of expanding testing capacity, particularly in schools. Officials said Biden will also “clarify” health insurers’ obligation to cover Covid-19 tests, a sign that the new government may be reversing a policy that has allowed insurers to cover tests for asymptomatic individuals for to oppose public health surveillance or public health surveillance. Work programs.
Other executive actions will create a public dashboard with real-time national and state data on cases, tests, vaccinations, and hospital admissions, and mask mandates on aircraft and other forms of interstate transportation. The administration will also use FEMA to set up 100 community vaccination sites over the next 30 days.
Biden will also restore full federal funding for the National Guard pandemic – reversing a decision by the Trump administration last summer to cut funding for most states by 25 percent. The same ruling will also approve more FEMA funding to help states reopen schools – by reimbursing states for items such as teacher masks – and providing more FEMA resources to Indian tribes.
On workplace issues, another Biden regulation aims to strengthen enforcement against employers who expose their workers to the risk of contracting Covid-19 and instruct the labor protection agency to issue stricter guidelines on virus prevention measures and “the worst violations.” “To pursue. While working groups have been pressuring Biden for months to instruct OSHA to establish a temporary emergency standard for jobs during the pandemic, the order only instructs the agency to determine whether or not such a step is necessary.
With more states reporting that vaccine appointments have to be canceled due to bottlenecks and uncertainties about future shipments, Biden’s team has not yet indicated how it plans to allocate vaccines in the future. Zients stated that the government would not uphold the recently implemented policy of the Trump administration to distribute vaccines to states based on the speed at which they were administered – penalizing states that are slower – but themselves nor would it oblige the state to revert to the original system of allocating shots on the basis of individual vaccines as a whole.
“We don’t want to compete with one state against another. Our system will have justice as a guiding principle, ”he said. “We don’t imagine punishing states.”
Zients also said repeatedly that due to obstacles and poor information sharing during the transition, he and other Biden officials are just getting a full picture of how much vaccine the government has on hand, how much they have already promised, and where and when to go can expect.
“The cooperation or lack of cooperation by the Trump administration has been an obstacle,” he said. “We don’t have the visibility that we would hope for offer and allocation.”
Members of Biden’s Covid Response Team also made it clear that they are concerned about reports of severe racial differences in the initial vaccination – and plan to take steps to ensure people of color aren’t left behind. While one of the new assignments is setting up a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to advise the team on these issues, many of the other proposals are management To increase the availability of tests, treatments, and vaccines, Congress must approve tens of billions of euros in new funding.