White House’s Plans For Workplace Mask Standards Face A Delay
With discussions ongoing, President Joe Biden's plan for a national mask standard for workplaces will miss its deadline. In other news the White House is rolling back covid tests for its own staffers, and the administration comments on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's vaccine czar controversy.
Face Mask Standard In Workplaces Misses President's Deadline
The White House's self-imposed deadline to impose a nationwide face mask standard in workplaces won't be met, since deliberations are still underway. President Biden on January 21 directed the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine by Monday, March 15, if such a standard is needed. An emergency temporary standard on face masks in the workplace is ultimately expected to be issued, but the analysis has not yet been completed, three people familiar with the process told CBS News. (Erickson, 3/15)
White House Rolls Back COVID-19 Testing For Staffers
The Biden administration issued new internal guidance Monday saying it would reduce daily coronavirus testing for White House staff to once a week, Axios has learned. Now that a majority of officials working on the 18-acre complex have been vaccinated, the administration is relaxing some of its coronavirus restrictions — a step closer to normalcy. (Treene, 3/15)
In other news from the Biden administration —
Psaki Calls Cuomo Vaccine Chief's Political Outreach 'Inappropriate'
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday called reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine czar blurred lines by querying county officials about their loyalty to New York’s embattled governor “concerning” and “inappropriate.” “We work to ensure that [the Covid vaccine] is equitably distributed and that there are not steps that are taken that are concerning,” Psaki told reporters Monday. “So we were concerned, of course, about the reports of this inappropriate behavior, but we also have a number of steps in the system to ensure that the people of New York, the people of any state [that] the vaccines are being distributed fairly and equitably.” (Niedzwiadek, 3/15)
Xavier Becerra’s 4 Most Urgent Challenges As HHS Secretary
Xavier Becerra has survived the worst of a tense confirmation battle to become HHS secretary, but in the days ahead he will face a much more intimidating challenge: governing during a pandemic. The Biden administration couldn’t slow down its Covid-19 response efforts to wait for Becerra’s confirmation, so his responsibilities have so far been farmed out to the White House and officials who didn’t need Senate approval. Once he’s confirmed, which is expected this week, Becerra will have to carve out his role in the Covid-19 response while juggling the demands of other crises and staffing a massive department. (Cohrs, 3/16)