Biden to Governors on the C-Flu: “There Is No Federal Solution”
When President Biden’s public utterances make the news, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether he’s signaling a substantive shift or merely wandering off message. On a call with governors Monday to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, this is how Mr. Biden started his remarks: “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.”
Oh? During the 2020 presidential campaign, Mr. Biden pledged “to shut down the virus, not the country.” He also slammed President Trump in a debate, saying: “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” Mr. Biden’s policies have followed that approach, as when his Education Department inserted itself into state and local debates over school mask policies.
The Biden Administration has also issued broad federal rules to require that tens of millions of workers be vaccinated or regularly tested. The mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration applies to private companies nationwide that have 100 or more employees. Next week the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments over whether this is a lawful use of government power after lower courts have split on the question.
If Mr. Biden is beginning to make a rhetorical turn toward coping with Covid, since the virus is probably here to stay, this would be a welcome shift. He was wrong last year when he suggested that any politician had the power to control the pandemic. Now that Mr. Biden is in office, as the Omicron variant refuses to be “shut down,” it would be a politically convenient time for him to acknowledge the virus reality.
Yet this shift could still do some good, in that Mr. Biden’s say-so could bring along some of his fellow Democrats and the media, as well as move the conversation toward living with an endemic Covid. If this is the way Mr. Biden is going, then he should also notify the Supreme Court that he plans to have OSHA withdraw its overbroad vaccine mandate. That would be consistent with his message Monday on the lack of a “federal solution.” It also might save Mr. Biden from a High Court smackdown.
Source: The Wall Street Journal