Republican Reps. Sam Graves of Missouri and Garret Graves of Louisiana sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday denouncing him for pushing COVID-19 vaccine mandate ultimatums on the airline industry.
“It is unacceptable that your Administration is using the threat of contractual measures as a coercion to single out American workers in a vital national industry, especially given the legal questions that have been raised regarding the imposition of employer vaccine mandates,” the Republicans wrote.
In addition to urging Biden to “rethink this ill-conceived mandate which will result in the termination of employees whose jobs were saved over the last 18 months at enormous taxpayer expense,” the congressmen also chastised the administration for applying pressure to airlines to comply with an administration press release “at the beginning of the busy holiday travel season.”
“This unilateral mandate and arbitrary deadline will serve only to disrupt airline operations and increase the likelihood of cancelled flights, upsetting holiday plans for thousands of Americans, many of whom have not seen their families since the start of the pandemic,” the letter states.
The letter notes that the directives from the White House have “no basis in any COVID-related statute passed by Congress” and ignore scientific data suggesting that “air travel is among the safest forms of transportation” when it comes to COVID transmission.
“Despite the scientific evidence that air travel is extremely safe, your Administration is choosing to bully airlines into firing unvaccinated employees while giving a free pass to other modes of transportation like public transit, which received $70 billion in COVID relief funding from Congress,” the Republicans explained. “These actions send a false message to the American people that air travel is less safe than other activities, including travel by public transit or other modes of transportation, which is untrue.”
The representatives also noted that the same employees who are at risk for being fired by airlines such as United, which is frequently cheered on by Biden, also assisted the administration during the Afghanistan evacuations and don’t deserve poor treatment for their dedication to the nation.
“Under contract with the Department of Defense, air carriers and their employees patriotically ferried thousands of Americans and our Afghan allies to safety. After admirably and professionally performing their duties, that same contract will now shamefully place those same employees under threat of termination,” the letter states.
The Republicans not only deemed “disparate treatment” by the Biden administration unacceptable but said it is unproductive and harms Americans.
“While we share your goal of ending the COVID-19 pandemic, we object to the unilateral imposition of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on air carriers and other private companies by your Administration,” the letter concludes. “We urge you to drop these coercive and unlawful vaccination schemes and work with Congress and private industry on public health measures to end the pandemic without threatening to end the livelihoods of hardworking Americans.”