Nancy Pelosi: ‘We Cannot Require Someone to Be Vaccinated. That’s Just Not What We Can Do’

By CNSNews.com Staff | November 4, 2021 | 3:30pm EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - Even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said in April that Congress could not require people to be vaccinated, President Joe Biden announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor had issued a rule requiring companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or are tested for it every week.

“Today, the Labor Department issued its rule requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for companies with 100 or more employees,” Biden said in a statement.

“If you work for one of these companies you will either need to get vaccinated or test at least weekly,” said Biden.

“Also today, the Department of Health and Human Services released its rule to ensure that our nation’s healthcare workers are vaccinated,” Biden continued. “No one should be at risk when they seek medical care.

“Together, these rules will cover about 100 million Americans–two-thirds of all workers in America,” Biden said.

However, at her press conference on April 29, the day after President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, Speaker Pelosi said that “we” cannot require either members of Congress itself or Americans in general to be vaccinated.

“Why not consider something like requiring that everyone be fully vaccinated? Why require masks at a time when public health officials want the message to be about vaccination?” a reporter asked Pelosi.

“So here’s the thing. We cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That’s just not what we can do,” Pelosi said in her response.

“It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn’t. I can’t go to the Capitol physician and say, ‘Give me the names of people who aren’t vaccinated so I can go encourage them to be, or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated,’” said Pelosi.

“So we can’t do that, but you would hope that science would guide them to protect themselves, their family members, and be good colleagues in the workplace to get vaccinated,” Pelosi said. “And the sooner that that happens, the better for everything.”

Pelosi went on to say: “So, if we could, but we can’t require vaccinations for the members much less for the American people.”

Pelosi also said at that press conference that she believed about 75 percent of House members were vaccinated, but as a matter of “respecting people’s privacy,” they could not ask the Capitol physician to tell them who is and who is not vaccinated.

“I think it’s about 75%. Maybe in the last few days, some more, but I think it’s about 75%,” said Pelosi. “But again, the physician cannot tell us Democrats, Republicans, or who. And that’s right. We should be respecting people’s privacy, but that’s approximately what it is.”

Here is a transcript from the part of Speaker Pelosi’s April 29 press conference where she said Congress “cannot require someone to be vaccinated:”

Reporter: “You covered a lot of topics this morning on CBS. I want to ask about something that didn’t come up about the House itself. Two questions. Roughly what percentage of the House do you think is fully vaccinated right now? And then second, there has been some pushback from both the right and the left about requiring social distancing and fully masked participants last night. Why not consider something like requiring that everyone be fully vaccinated? Why require masks at a time when public health officials want the message to be about vaccination?”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Well, public health officials still encourage wearing masks indoors, but your question is an excellent one that should be made to every member of Congress. We are guided by the Capitol attending physician and the Sergeant-at-Arms, but the science demands why we have masks on still. As you rightly point out, with more vaccinations, we should be able to have shorter period of time for voting so that if we’re all vaccinated, still with a mask inside, but nonetheless. Perhaps when we are speaking would be a time we could, as you did, take down the mask. But, so far, that’s not what we can do. So here’s the thing. We cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That’s just not what we can do. It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn’t.

“I can’t go to the Capitol physician and say, ‘Give me the names of people who aren’t vaccinated so I can go encourage them to be, or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated.’ So we can’t do that. But you would hope that science would guide them to protect themselves, their family members, and be good colleagues in the workplace to get vaccinated. And the sooner that that happens, the better for everything.

“Because all of the requirements that we had last night were not about security by and large. That security issue was always there when the President of the United States is present. But in terms of COVID. COVID had us in a room where normally 1,600 people would be gathered for an address by the President of the United States. 1,600 people to I think it was 204 people because the Capitol physician insisted that that social distancing, that mask wearing, were necessary so that we’re not contributing to the spread of COVID. Especially with the president of the United States there, but also in terms of the Congress of the United States.

“So, if we could, but we can’t require vaccinations for the members much less for the American people. Some people want to say, ‘Don’t come into my store unless you’re vaccinated,’ this or that. It causes commotion, but we don’t have too much. I mean, there are some individuals who say--and I can’t even, I don’t even know who they are, but if you say there are that they don’t want to social distance and they don’t want to wear a mask, but that’s incidental. It’s not anybody important.”

Reporter: “Do you what percentage of the House is vaccinated? Do you know right now?”

Pelosi: “The percentage?”

Reporter. “Yeah.”

Pelosi: “It’s about--I think it’s about 75%. Maybe in the last few days, some more, but I think it’s about 75%. But again, the physician cannot tell us Democrats, Republicans, or who. And that’s right. We should be respecting people’s privacy, but that’s approximately what it is. And the Republicans come up to me and say, ‘Let’s shorten the time for votes. Let’s shorten the time for votes.’ I said, ‘Well, tell your friends to get vaccinated. That would help. That would help a lot.’”

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