IN Focus: White House communications deputy on economic recovery, vaccine mandates


INDIANAPOLIS – As the Biden Administration continues to push for federal vaccine mandates, the policy is facing tough hurdles from Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Indiana Senator Mike Braun recently introduced legislation outlawing employer mandates. His bill passed in the Senate last week, but isn’t expected to get a vote in the House. At a press conference, Sen. Braun described the Biden Administration’s push to vaccinate Americans as “the heavy hand of government.”

“That is overreach, and that’s when my phone started ringing off the hook,” Braun said.

Kate Berner, White House Deputy Communications Director, is confident that the plan will be defended by the Department of Justice, and pointing to employer mandates already at private companies large and small, Berner says federal action is essential to keeping every business open.

“We’re seeing huge increases in vaccination rates with these requirements,” Berner said. “We know that is what’s good for our communities, good for our public health, and good for our economy.”

On the nation’s economic recovery, Berner praised new unemployment numbers, showing the lowest rate since the pandemic began. She feels that the huge demand for workers provides an opportunity for companies to raise wages and retain their workforce.

“It’s great news for families across the country who, during the pandemic, were out of work and now are getting a paycheck,” Berner said. “The president, when he ran for office… said that workers should have more power in the economy.”

Touting President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Berner says Americans are seeing more money in their pockets from tax cuts and pandemic relief. She says the president’s top economic focus now includes combating inflation and lowering costs. Berner views passing President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda as essential to the achieving those goals, as well as easing some of the constant worries of working families.

“[Build Back Better] will reduce the price of some of the things that families have struggled with for many years, like childcare, pre-K, elder care, and prescription drugs,” Berner said.

Watch more from our IN Focus interview with Kate Berner in the video above.

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