Will the Biden Administration Mandate Vaccines for Flying?


The White House hasn’t announced anything, but Barack Obama’s transportation chief has urged Joe Biden to go for it, a turn of events that would no doubt result in Fox News’ prime-time hosts having a series of aneurysms on live TV.

Per Politico:

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the White House should push airlines to put a vaccine mandate on airline travelers in place. If the airlines refuse, LaHood said, the White House should do it itself. What’s more, he contends it wouldn’t be a heavy lift operationally.

White House officials say they have not ruled out any policy initiative that would help contain the pandemic. At the same time, discussions around airline policy have so far centered on international travel. When asked if a system involving domestic travel could be put into place, officials say their focus now is on the mandate policies from last week, which they say are already a massive undertaking operationally to put into place. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not say whether the president supported domestic mandates for air travel. She would not elaborate on the level of discussions touching on the issue within the administration.


“I don’t think it would be difficult at all. It’s no different than showing your driver’s license to TSA,” LaHood told Politico. “I don’t see it as a bureaucratic challenge to the airlines. I really don’t. You got to show ID in order to get through TSA, then make it a part of getting through TSA—that you can’t get through TSA unless you show proper identification, your ticket and a vaccination card.”

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Earlier this week, Anthony Fauci said he believed airline-passenger mandates were a good idea, while Jeff Zients, the head of the White House’s COVID Response Team, said nothing is off the table, pointing to the fines the administration has implemented for passengers who ignore mask requirements. Asked on Thursday if he would support vaccine mandates for passengers, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said he would “certainly implement” one if it came from the government.

Of course, requiring passengers to get vaccinated in order to fly would obviously trigger an insane meltdown among Republicans and their partners in the conservative media. After Biden announced his new vaccine mandates for companies with over 100 employees, multiple GOP governors threatened to sue him (to which he responded, “Have at it,” adding: “I am so disappointed that…some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities”). And when the president said that fines for passengers refusing to comply with mask mandates will double, imploring people to “show some respect” for flight attendants just trying to do their jobs, Jeanine Pirro acted as though he’d signed an executive order requiring people to sign over their firstborn children to JetBlue executives.

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And who could forget this from the Fox gang?

So yeah, passenger mandates would go over real well with this crowd.

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