CORONAVIRUS | VACCINE MANDATE

What have GOP governors said about Biden's new vaccine mandate?

Republican governors are up in arms over President Biden’s vaccine mandate, threatening to fight it in court and saying it will harden resistance.

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What have GOP governors said about Biden's new vaccine mandate?
LUCAS JACKSON REUTERS

President Biden last week announced that he was signing a series of executive orders to raise the vaccination rate as the Delta covid-19 variant takes a heavy toll on the nation. There are still nearly 80 million people that haven’t gotten vaccinated, to them Biden said “our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

Federal workers, contractors working for the government along with their staff will now be required to get vaccinated. Private companies with 100 or more employees are asked to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated or be required to submit a weekly negative covid-19 test result. This resulted in instant backlash from members of the GOP.

GOP governors threaten legal action

Members of the Republican party and GOP governors across the country were quick to come out against the President Biden’s newly announced covid-19 vaccine mandate. Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the mandates “an assault on private businesses” and said he already “issued an Executive Order protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine.” He also said that his state is “working to halt this power grab.”

Other Republican governors followed his sentiment and are also threatening lawsuits against Biden’s executive orders.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp plans to “pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration.”

Missouri Governor Mike Parson “My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said “see you in court.”

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said he “asked the Attorney General to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power.”

President Biden for his part on Friday when asked about the threats of legal action he at first simply said “Have at it.” He went on to express disappointment in many GOP governors’ “cavalier” attitude toward the health of the children in their states.

Mandate will create resistance to vaccination

The Republican governors of Arkansas and Nebraska went on the Sunday talks shows to speak out against President Biden’s executive order. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on NBC's "Meet The Press" said that his state has been trying to overcome resistance but the mandate would harden the resistance. He added "it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake."

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said on “Fox News Sunday” that his state too has “been encouraging people to get vaccinated.” However, he feels it is a personal choice and “somebody shouldn’t have to make the choice between keeping their job and getting a jab in the arm.” He vowed that he would push back against the vaccine mandate with all his power.

Vaccine mandates are as old as the US

Vaccination mandates have long history and are common at the state and local level for children to attend school. In the past, compulsory vaccination for adults has been mandated to squelch outbreaks of smallpox. The US Supreme Court has upheld these mandates going back over a century.

Justice John Marshall Harlan, known for defending civil liberties, wrote in 1905 “There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members.”

The difference with Biden’s mandate is that it comes from the federal government, as opposed to the states, but he is using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement the policy for private businesses. Should a lower court hear a suit against the covid-19 vaccine mandate and issue a stay then it will be before the Supreme Court in quick succession.