House Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) opening statement at this week’s Select Subcommittee’s hearing calls out the Biden Administration for bullying and shaming Americans for their personal medical decisions. Whip Scalise highlights the negative consequences and public health implications of President Biden’s counterproductive vaccine mandates and points out that many police officers, nurses, first responders, and other frontline workers are opposed to vaccine mandates and may lose their jobs if they don’t comply with the Democrats’ federal overreach.
In addition, Whip Scalise questioned why House Democrats have refused to hold a single hearing on the origins of the COVID-19 and criticized President Biden for taking nine months to appoint a head of the Food and Drug Administration. Whip Scalise also called out President Biden for supporting a plan that would force American developers to relinquish their intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to China despite the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has been stealing intellectual property from American companies for years.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“It is a true testament to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed that anyone in America who wants the COVID vaccine can get the vaccine and it’s paid for. I have been proud to support President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed – an amazing public-private partnership that led to the development of three vaccines in less than a year and produced, manufactured, and distributed enough vaccines to give vaccine shots to every American who wants one. America has also donated millions of doses to countries around the world.
“I believe there is bipartisan agreement on this subcommittee – the vaccines have helped us reopen our economy, get back to work, and live again. There’s no doubt about it—they have saved millions of lives.
“But they have been around for about a year now and widely available for more than six months. Yet, about 1,300 people are still dying each day in the U.S. Sadly, there have been more COVID deaths this year than last year. Though there is still plenty left to learn about COVID, one thing we know for sure at this point is that vaccinations are not a panacea against preventing the spread of the virus.
“Despite these facts, after nearly a year in office, President Biden still has no real strategy to deal with COVID while also living our lives. The same administration that promised to ‘shut down the virus’ still does not have an FDA Commissioner. It has taken almost a year to finally get a nominee to lead the FDA, and he is just having his confirmation hearing in the Senate today. There’s been no hearing or investigation into the origins of COVID. The only strategy they seem wedded to is one that increases government control over people’s lives with more illegal mandates. The Biden Administration ignores naturally acquired immunity and won’t dedicate much attention to therapeutics, but they want to mandate vaccines in any setting they can think of. They want to bully and shame Americans into thinking like they do.
“The Biden Administration has tried to apply unlawful vaccine mandates to private companies with over 100 employees, health care workers, federal contractors, and federal employees. President Biden has dedicated more time trying to get health care workers fired if they don’t get vaccinated than he has spent on alternatives like therapeutics to keep families safe.
“Fortunately for Americans, the Biden Administration is losing big in court. The federal courts have struck down, halted, or delayed most of the vaccine mandates.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate for private employers was blocked by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last month. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandated that health care workers had to be at least partially vaccinated by December 6, 2021. After a preliminary injunction issued by a federal district court in Missouri which applied to ten states, the health care workers mandate was blocked nationally just two weeks ago. The unlawful mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors was paused last week after a federal district court in Georgia found it exceeded Executive authority. Finally, Under Executive Order 14043, virtually all federal employees had to get vaccinated or risk losing their job. On November 29, 2021, leadership in the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management encouraged federal agencies to delay enforcement of the federal employee mandate. This is a dismal record of failure and rejection of President Biden’s unlawful mandate.
“With health care systems still treating COVID patients and facing staffing shortages, I warned months ago that the Biden Administration’s proposed vaccine mandate on health care workers would exacerbate shortages and could harm patient care. But the Biden Administration pushed for it anyway. They continue to offer nonsensical solutions that don’t solve the purported problem but rather create serious problems of their own. What is this twisted infatuation President Biden has with firing millions of hardworking families right before Christmas and especially at a time when most employers can’t find workers?
“They want to do the same thing on global vaccinations. To increase the vaccine supply worldwide, the Biden Administration wants to force the American developers of COVID-19 vaccines to give away their intellectual property rights to their innovative technology.
“That’s right, for years, we all spoke out against China stealing America’s intellectual property. Now we have the American President trying to give our IP away to China and other countries for free!
“If President Biden gets his way, imagine the chilling effect this would have on the ability to develop life-saving drugs in the future.
“On a bipartisan basis for more than 25 years, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) made protection of U.S. intellectual property a cornerstone of our trade agreements. When American ingenuity is protected and able to flourish –America can compete and win. American pharmaceutical companies have led the world in both research and development and the introduction of new life-saving drugs. The COVID vaccines are a great example of this. We’re the world leader because we offer strong IP protections and because we prohibit the U.S. government from setting prices like the socialized health systems abroad do.
“Now, President Biden wants to take a sledgehammer to innovation by removing protections for U.S. intellectual property. Stripping innovators of their constitutionally protected patents will undermine innovation, weaken our international competitiveness, and only help communist China, the country that spread the pandemic in the first place.
“Even if the U.S. government was successful in forcing the companies to give away their vaccine recipe, it would take manufacturers years to build the facilities and source the materials that are needed to safely produce these complex vaccines. This would not yield more safe and effective shots in arms across the world. It’s yet another illegal attempt to undermine American competitiveness.
“As I have said before, we should protect IP, contract with U.S. manufacturers, and help distribute the vaccine to countries in need – it is a quicker, smarter strategy. There would be more shots administered, and we wouldn’t have to kneecap future innovation to do it.
“It seems like some people just want to use COVID as an excuse to exert control over Americans and expand the powers of big government socialists even when it makes no sense.
“Americans are sick of it.
“Thankfully, and finally, people are coming around to the idea that these shutdowns and mandates must end. ‘The emergency is over,’ according to Democratic Governor of Colorado Jared Polis. The New York Times editorial page had an article on Sunday titled, ‘Covid Isn’t Going Anywhere. It’s Time We Started Acting Like It.’
“We need to stop living in a state of emergency. It’s time to figure out a way to both protect people and freedom while doing a better job of handling COVID. The Biden Administration must finally lead on this. First, they need to clean up their mixed messaging on public health that has left Americans confused and frustrated, and then they need to start following the science on schools, masks, and vaccines. Americans have had enough.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.”