The White House will hold its daily press briefing Wednesday, a day after the Biden administration moved up the deadline by which states must open vaccine eligibility to all adults, and a day after the president offered tepid support for companies who are denouncing new restrictive voting laws in Georgia.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that all states must now open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults beginning on April 19 — two weeks earlier than originally planend.
During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, team adviser Andy Slavitt noted that senior citizens should seek out vaccinations now before appointments begin to fill up.
While Tuesday’s announcement is just the latest sign that the U.S. is ahead of schedule in distributing vaccines, the country is facing a concerning rise in case counts. On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walesnky noted that cases are on the rise among younger people, and that data shows that clusters of cases are cropping up around daycare centers and youth sports events.
The rise in cases comes as states consider rolling back social distancing measures. Texas, Mississippi and other states have already dropped mask mandates, and on Tuesday California announced plans to fully reopen its economy on June 15.
However, Biden yesterday stressed that it is not yet time to drop those measures.
"The virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight, Think we're at the finish line already. Let me be deadly earnest with you, we aren't at the finish line,” Biden said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki will also likely field more questions regarding Georgia’s newly-instituted law that makes it more difficult for citizens to cast a ballot. During Tuesday’s briefing, Psaki fielded several questions regarding Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta as a form of protest against the new law.
On Tuesday, Biden told reporters that he’s glad corporate America is speaking out against the law, but he’s concerned that boycotts could hurt the people of Georgia.
“It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are,” Biden said. “There is another side to it too. The other side of it too is when they move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most, the people making hourly wages, sometimes get hurt the worst."
Psaki stated to members of the media in a press conference on Tuesday that the U.S. government won’t issue vaccine passports.
“The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Psaki said. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
Psaki also told media members that their position on the Olympics "has not changed."
"We have not discussed and are not discussing any joint boycott...there is no discussion underway about a change in plan on the Beijing Olympics from the United States point of view."
Also during the press conference, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that there is room for compromise on the White House's proposal to raise corporate tax rates to 28% to help pay for the more than $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.
"The American Jobs Plan is about investing in American competitiveness, strengthening our workforce, rebuilding infrastructure, and leveling the playing field so all Americans have a shot at a good job," Raimondo said.
Raimondo added that there is a place for tariffs.
"The 232 tariffs have helped save American jobs in the steel and aluminum industries," Raimondo said during the press conference.
When asked about how governors should balance COVID-19 restrictions for safety and rolling them back to economic stimulus, Raimondo said the plan is to "vaccinate people as quickly as possible and just don't jump the gun."
Raimondo stated that when it comes to the census data, she said restricting data should be available by September. She called for patience due to the pandemic and said the department is prioritizing "accuracy over anything else."
Raimondo told reporters that Trump's tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum have "saved American jobs."