KEY POINTS

  • Companies with 100 or more workers are required to ensure that their workforce is fully vaccinated
  • Unvaccinated people should produce negative test results at least once a week
  • Employers who do not observe mandates could be fined $14,000 per violation

President Joe Biden on Thursday outlined two executive orders aimed at boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates across the U.S., angering Republican lawmakers who called the plans “unconstitutional.” 

Biden’s new stringent vaccine mandates would require more than 100 million Americans, or two-thirds of the country’s workforce, to get the shots. 

“We still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot. And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19,” Biden said. 

"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

The mandate would also require all employers with 100 or more workers to ensure that their workforce is fully vaccinated or test employees at least once a week. Employers who refuse to observe the mandate may face a $14,000 fine per violation, a senior administration official told NBC News.

Biden’s vaccine mandate would also apply to federal workers, which means more than 640,000 people working for the U.S. Postal Service and 300,000 educators employed under the federal Head Start programs are required to be fully vaccinated. 

Under the mandate, over 17 million healthcare workers employed in facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding, such as hospitals and dialysis centers, must be fully vaccinated.

"We have the tools to combat the virus if we come together to use those tools," he added.

Several Republican officials expressed their opposition to the vaccine mandate, with Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., promising legal action. 

“My legal team is standing by ready to file our lawsuit the minute @joebiden files his unconstitutional rule. This gross example of federal intrusion will not stand,” she wrote on Twitter. 

Gov. Greg Abbot, R-Texas, also called out Biden’s mandate and claimed that it is an “assault on private businesses.” He announced that he has since issued an executive order to allow Texans to choose whether or not they want to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“Texas is already working to halt this power grab,” he wrote on Twitter.  

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., called Biden’s move “absolutely unconstitutional.”

Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., tweeted: "Mandates are not the answer. Getting the vaccine should be up to you and your doctor — not the federal government.”

The U.S. has fully vaccinated 53.4% of the total population as of Thursday. At least 62.7% have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The country has so far reported 40,600,763 COVID-19 cases and 654,576 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

President Joe Biden denounced the Supreme Court's failure to block a restrictive abortion law in Texas President Joe Biden denounced the Supreme Court's failure to block a restrictive abortion law in Texas Photo: GETTY IMAGES / CHIP SOMODEVILLA