Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said that she believes private businesses should be able to dictate their own COVID-19 vaccination policies.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that he plans to have the Department of Labor draft a requirement stipulating that businesses with more than 100 employees either mandate vaccines or implement weekly COVID-19 testing.
“A private business should be able to choose the vaccination policy that works best for them; for instance, a company with most of its employees working remotely on a permanent basis shouldn’t be forced to have the same vaccination policies as a company with frontline workers who interact with the public,” Herrera Beutler wrote in an email to The Columbian Thursday evening.
“Businesses and whole industries are already facing massive worker shortages, and one-size-fits-all mandates very well could result in even greater worker shortages that creates other significant problems that impact the well-being of residents.”
Biden’s proposal would also mandate shots for health care workers, federal contractors and most federal employees. Combined with his plan for private businesses, the president’s announcement this week pushes two-thirds of American workers to be vaccinated, a move that experts say will curb a pandemic that continues to rage on. Around 37 percent of Americans remain unvaccinated.
In her statement, Herrera Beutler added that she agrees with the administration’s overarching goals of increasing vaccination rates.
“I chose to get vaccinated because I believe it is safe and effective for me, and I believe the same for the vast majority of the population,” the statement said.
“A ‘vaccinate or your [sic] fired’ mandate for government employees puts us at risk of losing workers at a time we can least afford it,” the statement said. “By providing a system of choice in combination with encouragement and robust education, we can achieve a protected population without having to rely on government coercion.”