The nation’s leading teachers unions were among the Biden administration’s first visitors to the White House, visitor logs show.
First lady Jill Biden hosted American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten and National Education Association president Becky Pringle for a virtual event the day after President Biden’s inauguration – signaling the close ties between the administration and the unions.
BIDEN WHITE HOUSE RELEASES FIRST VIRTUAL VISITOR LOGS
The administration came under first last week after the New York Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) communicated regularly with the AFT before the agency released its guidelines on how to reopen schools safely for in-person instruction.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have condemned the administration and congressional Democrats for being beholden to the unions, which they have say have hindered the ability of children to get back into the classroom for in-person instruction.
“The AFT represents 1.7 million educators, healthcare professionals and public employees who spent the last 14 months serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. So naturally, we have been in regular touch with the agencies setting policy that affect their work and lives, including the CDC,” Weingarten said in a statement to Fox News Saturday.
“In fact, we contacted the agency more in 2020 during the Trump administration than we have during the Biden administration in 2021 – requesting additional guidance, questioning policy, providing testimony and offering an educator and healthcare worker perspective,” she added.
But the White House’s decision to waive certain ethical standards for former labor union employees-turned-administration officials has further frustrated some GOP groups.
BIDEN WAIVES ETHICS RULES FOR FORMER UNION BOSSES WHO NOW WORK IN WHITE HOUSE
In a statement to Fox News on Saturday, National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Katharine Cooksey said, “Since the very first day of the Biden administration, every single Democrat has echoed the same union-approved talking points to keep schools closed and to jam a radical, job-killing agenda through Congress.”
“While Republicans are working to get kids back in the classrooms and the economy moving again, Democrats are taking orders from their bosses at the unions to keep schools closed and stifle job opportunities,” she added.
Former union officials have been granted waivers by the administration to laisse between the government and their former unions.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Fox News could not immediately reach the White House regarding GOP concerns on the administration’s close ties with labor unions.
But an April memo by Samuel Bagenstos, a top lawyer for the White House Office of Management and Budget, outlined one such waiver as a necessary strategy to bolster union and government ties.