“Now we’re at the point where we have procured about 380 million of these tests,” Psaki said during Thursday’s press briefing. “We feel we’re making very strong progress.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
Psaki’s comments come after Biden announced earlier Thursday that he has ordered the purchase of 500 million additional tests on top of the half a billion that are already in the process of being purchased, saying that his administration has made great progress tackling a nationwide test shortage in January.
“We’re seeing a real improvement in testing,” Biden said, adding that a planned website Americans will be able to use to order the tests is “on track” to go live later this month.
“We’ll continue to work with the retailers online to increase availability,” Biden said. “And for those who want an immediate test, we continue to add FEMA testing sites so that there are more free in-person testing sites.”
President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The announcement comes the same day the Supreme Court delivered Biden a partial blow, blocking enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that mandated businesses with more than 100 employees require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
But Psaki struck a more optimistic tone about the news, noting that the president’s rule requiring certain health care workers to be vaccinated was allowed to stay in place while touting the administration’s efforts to convince large companies to voluntarily require their workers to be vaccinated.
“We’ll be calling on and we’ll continue to call on businesses to immediately join us those who have already stepped up, including one-third of Fortune 100 companies, to institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers and communities,” she said.
The Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Psaki’s comments were echoed by the president in a statement shortly after the ruling Thursday, with Biden saying that he is “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision but still encourages states and individual employers to mandate the vaccine.
“The Court has ruled that my administration cannot use the authority granted to it by Congress to require this measure, but that does not stop me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans’ health and economy,” Biden said.