Republican AGs Fed Up With Biden Push Back Over Vaccine Mandates
Twenty-one Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday saying they think his COVID-19 vaccination mandate for federal contractors “stands on shaky legal ground,” that it is unclear to contractors and could add to supply-chain problems.
They wrote that companies could be blacklisted for federal contracts if they could not get their workers vaccinated on “an unworkable timeline.”
“We strongly urge you to instruct agencies to cease implementing the mandate or, at a minimum, to provide clarity to agencies and federal contractors across the country and delay the mandate’s compliance date,” said the letter signed by attorneys general from Texas, Mississippi, Alaska, and other states.
Republican officials have already said they might sue over the order that Biden issued Sept. 9. However, some legal experts have said the Biden administration has strong legal grounds with the mandates to protect public safety.
The administration is expected to release details soon about implementing the mandate. Biden has said companies with 100 employees or more will have to require all their employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The mandate for federal contractors will go into effect in December and does not allow for a testing option.
Employees of some federal contractors, including at a shipbuilder and a NASA rocket engine test site in Mississippi, have been protesting the mandate over what they believe is federal overreach into private lives.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a news release Wednesday that vaccination should be an individual decision.
“Forcing people to vaccinate or lose their jobs is a flawed premise … and the mismanaged execution of that idea demonstrates how utterly unworkable it is as a national policy,” Fitch said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Oct. 11 to prevent private companies or any other entity from requiring vaccines.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday directed the state’s executive-branch agencies not to give in to the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, where possible.
The White House comments indicate federal contractors may have flexibility when it comes to enforcing COVID-19 mandates and will have time for education, counseling and other measures before potentially being forced to terminate employment.
Republican Senator Roger Wicker on Wednesday implored Biden to discard the plan, saying “we cannot afford to gut our transportation network of tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of essential, good-paying jobs.”