WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – President Joe Biden faced the nation Thursday in a sweeping effort to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations by executive order. The White House said the labor department is developing a rule that businesses with more than 100 employees must require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing. The executive order also requires a COVID-19 vaccine for federal executive branch workers and employees within Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities.
The Biden administration is also calling on states to adopt vaccine requirements for employees who work in schools. Employment Attorney Eric Metz said the executive order is unprecedented and believes it will face legal challenges.
“Absolutely. I don’t know if a state itself will, but I am certain there will be challenges,” Metz said. “If not by state or local governments, certainly by private employers. I feel confident they will be challenged.”
Republicans in Kansas’ Congressional delegation are among the lawmakers in Washington, D.C. pushing back against the order.
U.S. Senator Roger Marshall said the order “is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties and our entire constitutional system of limited government.”
“This will likely get struck down in the courts, but is a terrifying glimpse of the new Marxist Dem Party,” Sen. Marshall said. “…Every governor in America who believes in the Constitution, the liberty of their citizens and the future of our republic must defy this president.”
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran expressed support for people getting vaccinated to combat the pandemic but also spoke out against Biden’s order.
U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) released the following statement in opposition to President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate:
“There is no doubt that through the success of American science and ingenuity, the COVID-19 vaccine has provided the best shot at ending the pandemic and taking critical steps towards normalcy. ”I am vaccinated and I will continue to urge Kansans to get vaccinated. These decisions should be left to each individual, and that decision should be guided by conversations with trusted doctors and not dictated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C,” Sen. Moran said. “Furthermore, this government overreach comes at the expense of small business owners who are trying to strike a balance between keeping their businesses safe and open, and respecting their employees’ personal health decisions.”
Moran said the mandate also will “only deepen divisions in the country regarding the vaccines,” and make it more difficult for employers to find workers, as well as cause some employees to drop out of the workforce in protest.
“I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s extreme government overreach in requiring vaccinations and urge them to focus on solutions that will empower patients to make educated decisions of their own choosing,” Sen. Moran said.
Rep. Tracy Mann is among the U.S. representatives speaking out against the president’s order. On his Facebook page, Mann posted a statement, in part calling out the mandate for flying in the face of religious freedom and personal liberty, not including exemptions for people who aren’t vaccinated based on religious or medical concerns.
Mann also expressed concern about the order’s impact on employment and that it will create a further divide with people who are skeptical about and reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“This executive order is not just overreaching, it is destructive to the sovereignty of the American people,” Rep Mann said.
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