Biden Says COVID Fight a State Issue Then Declares More Federal Power Over States

Biden Says COVID Fight a State Issue Then Declares More Federal Power Over States

( – President Joe Biden is in the political fight of his life. While many believe it’s because of the ineptness displayed at a high level over the last year, and that’s certainly playing a role, there’s a much deeper issue driving voters to turn on the president. In the previous six months, polls show voters denied him a honeymoon period as they began decimating his approval ratings. The whiplash invoked on the country has been intense as the president struggles to reconcile his big government promises with the reality of governing.

In 2020, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden declared that he alone would fix the pandemic and solve all of America’s problems from his basement if voters cast a ballot for him. As the Delta variant raged in the fall and now the less problematic but more contagious Omicron variant sweeps the country, federal public health officials appear to be offering confusing guidance and Biden’s statement that there isn’t a federal solution to the pandemic isn’t helping. He acknowledged that states should be the ones to lead the way — but that’s before he argued before the US Supreme Court that his federal vaccine mandates are legal.

So, which is it?

Biden Steps in It

The whiplash is intense, so it’s no wonder the public may be tuning out the CDC and Dr. Fauci. For example, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the CDC announced a change to quarantine protocols for asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19. After five days, they say a test isn’t needed for people to return to work if they show no symptoms as labor shortages crush businesses. On Sunday, January 2, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the CDC might need to adjust their thinking, even as supply issues hit hard on tests.

While that’s a public relations nightmare for the Biden administration, the president made a serious faux pas of his own. On Monday, December 27, the president told governors that there was no federal solution to the pandemic. Finally, it was a breath of fresh air and a truthful statement. The US Constitution doesn’t give direct federal control over public health rules. As such, the 10th Amendment declares powers not expressly granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people. This amendment explains why the CDC only offers guidance. It doesn’t have the authority to mandate anything.

What Did Biden Step In?

Just days after the acknowledgment the federal government has no solution to the pandemic, Biden whipped a lot of necks in the other direction. On Thursday, December 30, the White House begged the Supreme Court to leave the president’s federal vaccine mandate intact for businesses with more than 100 employees. The administration is also struggling to make its case in the courts involving vaccine mandates for healthcare professionals and other workers.

Don’t be surprised if the Supreme Court asks about Biden’s statement to the governors, and it ultimately hurts the administration’s credibility and argument before the Justices. Since March 2020, the central question before the Supreme Court has been, do the states have control over determining pandemic rules or does the federal government? The Supreme Court will likely rule against Biden’s mandates if the Constitution holds the answer.

However, like many things in Constitutional law, the apparently obvious can throw curveballs to expectant observers.

Stay tuned.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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