Few federal bureaucrats have polarized Americans quite like the current director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and according to one prominent Republican, that high-profile role is in desperate need of new blood.
As The Hill reports, firebrand GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) has introduced two bills that purport to eliminate the salary paid to Dr. Anthony Fauci and also ban COVID-19 vaccine passports that have been the subject of much discussion and controversy in both government and corporate circles.
Greene’s so-called “Fire Fauci Act” is designed to slash the infectious disease expert’s government salary down to zero until his replacement can be “confirmed by the Senate,” a step that is not, in fact, part of the appointment process for the role, as The Hill noted. In response, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted that the bill points to “why Members of Congress need good staff,” who can prevent legislators from “introducing stupid, nonsensical bills.”
In putting forward her “We Will Not Comply” legislation, Greene argues for the need to bar federal funds from going to any school or business enterprise that requires proof of coronavirus vaccination, asserting that vaccine mandates can have an unacceptably discriminatory effect on those who do not want to receive the jab, sometimes for religious reasons, according to the Washington Examiner.
Though neither of Greene’s proposals stands much chance of making any headway in the Democrat-controlled House, much less in the Senate, but their emergence does serve to highlight the ongoing controversy surrounding both Fauci and the concept of vaccine passports as a prerequisite for re-engagement with the economy while the battle against COVID-19 continues.
Republicans in recent days have stepped up their criticism of vaccine passports, citing privacy concerns, constitutionality questions, as well as the inherent hypocrisy of Democrats demanding such a heightened disclosure of personal information while simultaneously decrying ID requirements at the voting booth, with House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) opining:
Considering that Democrats want to require vaccine IDs for people to conduct their basic daily activities, they now have zero grounds to object to voter ID laws.
If under Democrat logic, you should need an ID to enter even a grocery store, surely there wouldn’t be an objection to showing an ID to legally vote.
The White House, for its part, has attempted to shift the onus of developing and implementing a vaccine passport onto the private sector, but, as press secretary Jen Psaki noted, administration efforts “will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis,” signaling at least an openness to the concept, if not an outright willingness to formally endorse the notion just yet.
Should vaccine passport initiatives gain traction, vigorous Republican pushback is all but assured, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledging executive action in his state to prevent their use, saying, according to The Hill:
It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society.
While safe and effective vaccines designed to fight a global pandemic are certainly a welcome advancement of which millions are taking full advantage, the Democrats’ apparent abandonment of their old battle cry of “my body, my choice” is highly instructive in just how easily a shift in political winds can transform their supposedly inviolable principles.