Republican lawmakers accuse White House of pressuring airlines on vaccines

Two senior U.S. lawmakers on Thursday accused the White House of pressuring U.S. airlines to require their employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 by a Dec. 8 deadline for federal contractors or face firing. Representative Sam Graves, top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Garrett Graves, senior Republican on the aviation subcommittee, wrote President Joe Biden on Thursday, saying it “is unacceptable that your administration is using the threat of contractual measures as a coercion to single out American workers in a vital national industry.” The lawmakers, who are not related, cited a Reuters story reporting that White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients had called the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Sept. 30, urging them to follow United Airlines’ lead in mandating employee vaccines.