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Will the Biden Administration Mandate Vaccines for Flying?

That sound you hear is the gang at Fox News screaming in a pitch only dogs can hear. 

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.”

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.

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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Idaho is literally rationing medical care thanks to an overload of COVID cases

Meanwhile, its Republican governor, last seen banning mask mandates, is busy exploring legal action against Biden’s new vaccine push. Per The New York Times:

With its hospitals struggling to cope with a flood of patients, Idaho officials activated “crisis standards of care” across the state on Thursday, allowing overwhelmed facilities to ration treatment if needed…. Crisis standards of care lay out guidelines for hospitals to follow when they cannot meet demand and must ration services. Idaho officials noted that patients may find themselves being treated in repurposed rooms, or that needed equipment is not available. Some patients may have to wait for beds to become available.

Nationwide, new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have declined slightly in recent weeks, but much of the progress seen in hard-hit Southern states is being offset by growing outbreaks in the Upper Midwest and Mountain West, including Idaho…. Idaho adopted crisis standards for hospitals in the northern part of the state earlier this month. Nurses there are caring for higher patient loads than usual and are authorized not to check vital signs as often as they otherwise would. If the situation worsens, rationing could get more drastic, with hospitals having to decide which patients will get priority for limited supplies of oxygen or ventilators.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have skyrocketed in Idaho and are presently running 40% above their previous pandemic high, according to federal data. “The situation is dire—we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident,” Dave Jeppesen, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in a completely terrifying statement.

The governor of West Virginia is begging y’all

If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself, your family, or your friends, do it for his husky bulldog, who goes by the name “Babydog.”

While a nice touch, it would be nicer if Jim Justice actually supported vaccine mandates, which we’re sure Babydog thinks are good common sense.

Just in case you needed another reason not to ingest horse dewormer…

Elsewhere!

The White House Wants to Talk to Nicki Minaj About Her Cousin’s Friend’s Balls (Intelligencer)

Newsom: Recall win shows Dems should “stiffen our spines” on COVID action (Politico)

Ex-Trump aides to spearhead a $10 million effort to fight Biden economic plan (The Washington Post)

Joe Manchin gets all the attention. But Kyrsten Sinema could be a bigger obstacle for Democrats’ spending plans. (The Washington Post)

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