NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
President Biden on a call with governors Monday said he agrees with two GOP state executives that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mitigate COVID-19, even as his administration is pushing major federal solutions to the pandemic that’s nearly two years old.
Biden made the comment after Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is the chair of the National Governors Association, cautioned the president against taking actions that may step on states’ toes as they aim to fight the virus.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“One word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions,” Hutchinson said. “The production of 500 million rapid tests that will be distributed by the federal government is great, but obviously that dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor.”
“There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level,” Biden responded, before mentioning another Republican governor.
In this Jan. 10, 2017, file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to the Arkansas Legislature in Little Rock. Hutchison is now the chairman of the National Governors Association. (AP Photo/Brian Chilson, File)
“I’m looking at [New Hampshire] Gov. [Chris] Sununu on the board here. He talks about that a lot,” Biden said. “And it ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road and that’s where the patient is in need of help, or preventing the need for help.”
Biden, however, has put the federal government in a central role on pandemic mitigation measures. The Education Department opened civil rights probes into several states for banning school mask mandates. The president continues to mandate masks in airports, airplanes and on public transportation – and his administration increased fines for those who don’t comply.
And the administration is currently going to the Supreme Court to defend its vaccine mandate for any private businesses with more than 100 employees.
The president during the call Monday projected confidence in the United States’ ability to handle the omicron variant, saying that it “is a source of concern, but it should not be a source of panic.”
“This is not like March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic. We’re prepared and we know what it takes to save lives, protect people and keep schools and businesses open,” Biden added. “My message to the governors is simple. If you need something, say something.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.