Biden Passes The Buck To Governors: There's 'No Federal Solution' To COVID Fight

Biden Passes The Buck To Governors: There's 'No Federal Solution' To COVID Fight

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
December 28, 2021

President Biden conceded to the nation's governors the fight against COVID is now primarily a state battle to solve, and the federal government will only be there to assist, despite over the past year micromanaging and forcing a one size fits all federal mandates on the American people while insulting those who didn't comply.

"There is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level," Biden said during a virtual meeting with state governors. "And then it ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that's where the patient is in need of help or preventing the need for help."

"My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something," Biden added. "We're going to have your back any way we can."

The president, in his opening remarks, touted his administration's work to boost testing availability,  pointing to the planned 500 million rapid COVID test purchase while insinuating blame towards former President Trump for the lack of test supplies.

"First, let's talk about how we got here. When I took office 10 months into — we were 10 months into the pandemic and, even so, we had no — zero — over-the-counter home tests in the United States. None," Biden claimed. "So, we got to work. We quadrupled the number of pharmacies offering free tests, and there are now more than 20,000 places where you can get tested for free."

"For over-the-counter, at-home test, as I said, there — there were none when we took office. None. Now we have eight on the market. And just three days ago, another test was cleared. We went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, 100 million in November, and almost 200 million in December.

Speaking to Biden at the outset of a call between bipartisan governors and the White House Covid-19 response team, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who is currently chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), cautioned that the president's new plan to buy and distribute 500 million free rapid tests, scheduled to occur next month would interfere with state-level efforts already underway to boost supply.

"Make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions," Hutchinson said, calling the initiative "great, but obviously that drives up the supply chain for the solutions we might offer as governor."

Biden acknowledged the shortages of tests that have hit the nation ahead of the holiday season, referencing "long lines" seen around the country and admitting that he wished he had done more to prepare for the rising surge.

"It's clearly not enough — if we'd have known, we would've gone harder, quicker," Biden said. "We have to do better, and we will."

However, Vanity Fair reported that the White House rejected a plan from public health officials on Oct. 22 that called for the production of 732 million tests per month for a "Testing Surge To Prevent Holiday COVID surge." The plan wanted "Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year." Biden denied the report before leaving Washington for the rest of the year to his beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware.

Those comments represent one of the most explicit concessions to date from Biden, who have chastised governors, specifically those from red states who refused to follow the federal government COVID guidance and take their own lead. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis broke away from the Biden administration's public health initiative and refused to enforce them on Floridians, to which Biden escalated a feud with the rising 2024 Republican presidential candidate for months.

DeSantis, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, issued their own executive order in their respective states, banning mask mandates on schools and business entities due to the confusing Centers for Disease and Prevention's unreliable guidance who imposed it regardless of their vaccination status. Recently, both GOP governors also signed their own state executive orders prohibiting businesses from imposing Covid-19 vaccination requirements on employees or customers, prompted by Biden federal overreach by inflicting mandates on companies with 100 or more employees.

In September, Biden announced plans this week to limit how many doses of monoclonal antibody treatments would be provided to individual states. The White House reduced Florida's weekly share of 70 percent of Regeneron doses, dropping it down to 55 percent weekly. The move was seen as partisan due to Florida's fight with the White House over vaccine mandates and masks in schools.

Biden attacked other GOP-led states over their push back in following Florida and Texas lead and threatened legal action over their COVID handling. The president accused GOP governors of further dividing the country, despite being the one throwing insults in condemning Americans who were not vaccinated.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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