Top-ranking Republicans are trying to stamp out digital vaccine passports, that would allow businesses to check if customers are inoculated against COVID-19.
The White House is working on a private sector-driven initiative to help businesses identify people that have been vaccinated, as venues reopen and travel begins to pick up.
New York has already developed its own version, dubbed the “Excelsior Pass.” The digital app doesn’t display the user’s health information, and will be required for vaccinated customers to gain entry to large venues like Madison Square Garden.
The “passports” have been criticized as invasive and hypocritical by some Republicans, including the party’s second highest ranking member of Congress.
“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,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told Fox News.
“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.”
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan called out Biden’s administration pursuing the passports for Americans who want to engage in day to day activities, while it “doesn’t seem to care about passports when it comes to illegal migrants crossing the southern border.”
“Vaccine credentials would be a complete government overstep. Individuals in America have a personal responsibility for their health,” Rep. Pete Sessions told Fox News.
The White House has said the government is not taking a large role in the project, and is looking to fill a demand from private businesses.
“The government is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport nor a place to hold the data of citizens,” White House COVID-19 Response Team advisor Andy Slavitt said Monday.
“Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy,” White House coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters earlier this month.
The Excelsior Pass, which launched on Friday, can now be used by New Yorkers to gain access to wedding receptions and other events in excess of social gathering limits.