Republican governors, and those looking to become governors, have come out strong against the new vaccine proposals from Joe Biden.
On Thursday, Biden announced, as part of his strategy to combat coronavirus, calls for businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or face weekly testing, The New York Times reported.
He also mandated that the businesses give their employees paid time off to get the vaccine.
“Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this — United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods, and even Fox News,” he said in his speech.
“To those of you running large entertainment venues — from sports arenas to concert venues, to movie theaters — please require folks to get vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of entry,” Biden said.
The move, though, is sure to face political pushback and litigation. And it faces considerable challenges, like establishing a way to gather and store the vaccination information, as well as a process for exemptions. The president did not specify penalties for flouting the requirements.
Lawyers said Thursday that it was not immediately clear whether the rule would apply to all employees or only those who work in company offices or facilities.
The Biden administration also intends to require vaccination for federal workers and contractors, as well as for 17 million health care workers in hospitals and other institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
“Let me be blunt,” he said in his speech. “My plan also takes on elected officials in states that are undermining you in these life-saving actions. Right now local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying the schools.”
“If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I will use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he said. “The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered.”
This has Republicans, particularly governors, furious.
“Biden’s vaccine mandate is an assault on private businesses. I issued an Executive Order protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine & added it to the special session agenda. Texas is already working to halt this power grab,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Twitter.
“How could we get to the point in this country where you would not let them earn a living because of their choice on the vaccine?” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “I just think that’s fundamentally wrong. I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”
“I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said.
“South Dakota will stand up to defend freedom,” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said. “Joe Biden see you in court.”
“Once again, @POTUS has missed the mark. His outrageous, overreaching mandates will no doubt be challenged in the courts. Read my full statement below,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said.
“The Biden Administration’s announcement to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for private businesses is an egregious example of big government overreach, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said on Facebook.
“Our Constitution was written and fought for to protect our liberties as American citizens. This administration’s latest pronouncement demonstrates its complete disregard for the rule of law and the freedoms individuals and private companies enjoy under our Constitution. In Wyoming, we believe that government must be held in check.
“I have asked the Attorney General to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power. It has no place in America. Not now, and not ever,” he said.
“Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says as long as I am governor, there will be no government vaccine mandates in state,” Josh Kaplan of Breitbart News, said on Twitter.
“President Biden is taking dangerous and unprecedented steps to insert the federal government even further into our lives while dismissing the ability of Iowans and Americans to make healthcare decisions for themselves,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said.
“Biden’s plan will only worsen our workforce shortage and further limit our economic recovery.
“As I’ve said all along, I believe and trust in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. It’s time for President Biden to do the same. Enough is enough,” she said.
“Americans, not the federal government, are responsible for taking charge of their personal health,” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said. “It is not the role of the federal government to mandate their choices. Nebraska will stand up…working with the Attorney General to explore all our options.”
“For a fight that requires working together, a lot of cynical and divisive edicts came out of the White House today pitting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated, businesses against employees, and the federal government against states,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said.
“The Constitution won’t allow this power grab, and in the meantime, I will stand up for all Tennesseans.
“To be clear: the vaccine is the best tool we have to combat the pandemic but heavy-handed mandates are the wrong approach,” he said.
“Today’s actions from President Biden amount to government overreach. Government should stay out of decisions involving employers and their employees as much as possible. I’ve advocated for and championed fewer government regulations and mandates on business,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said in a tweet.
“The Biden Administration’s recent announcement seeking to dictate personal freedom and private business decisions is an insult to our American principles of individual liberty and free enterprise,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said.
“This heavy-handed action by the federal government is unwelcome in our state and has potentially dangerous consequences for working families.
“Vaccination protects us from serious illness, but the decision to get vaccinated is a private health care decision that should remain as such. My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms,” he said.
“The Biden-Harris administration plans on fining businesses $14,000 for every employee not tested or vaccinated — but somehow they’ve exempted one of their largest federal agencies from the mandate?” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a tweet.
“Maybe it’s because they realize this is pure government overreach. Maybe it’s because they realize this will only make workforce shortages worse. Or maybe it’s simply a case of “rules for thee, not for me.” It’s hypocrisy and Arizona will not stand for it,” he said.