Ten attorneys general in states with Republican governors filed a lawsuit against the White House’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
The lawsuit, dated Oct. 29, was filed by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. They described (pdf) the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for contractors as a “power grab.”
“If the federal government attempts to unconstitutionally exert its will and force federal contractors to mandate vaccinations, the workforce and businesses could be decimated, further exacerbating the supply chain and workforce crises,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement as the lawsuit was filed.
Schmitt, a Republican, further argued that the federal government “should not be mandating vaccinations, and that’s why we filed suit today,” saying the move is “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”
President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 announced sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors, and set a Dec. 8 deadline. Federal workers and contractors under the mandate won’t be able to submit weekly COVID-19 tests and instead have to get vaccinated or seek a religious or medical exemption.
In the same breath, the president said he would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a rule for employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID-19 testing for employees, affecting some 80 million private-sector workers. Health care staff who work at Medicaid- or Medicare-funded facilities also have to get the vaccine, with no option to submit to weekly testing.
While Biden has said that the vaccine mandates are needed to deal with the Delta variant surge, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data has shown that COVID-19 cases have persistently dropped across the United States in recent weeks. Meanwhile, some trade groups have issued warnings that Biden’s mandates on vaccines would trigger significant staffing and supply chain issues nationwide.
“The ramifications of the federal contractor vaccine mandate are significant,” Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson said in a statement late last week.
“It will impact countless employees, exacerbate existing workforce shortages, and create economic instability. Most importantly, it puts individual employees who happened to work for federal contractors out of a job if they simply make the personal choice not to be vaccinated.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, names Biden, COVID-19 task force chief Jeff Zients, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, General Services Administration head Robin Carnahan, Office of Personnel and Management Director Kiran Ahuja, and others as defendants. The attorneys general are seeking an injunction against the vaccine mandate.
The lawsuit follows legal challenges on the contractor vaccine mandate that have come from other states, including Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and others.
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.