Nearly a year after Biden promised Americans that he would not enact a vaccine mandate, the President addressed the nation last week with words more befitting an authoritarian father figure speaking to recalcitrant children than those of an elected leader in a representative democracy. The White House effectively laid full blame for the enduring nature of the pandemic at the feet of those who remain unvaccinated. Biden stated he would have “much preferred that requirements not become necessary,” but that “too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good.”
Biden’s sharply worded message centered around his deadline of January 4, 2022, for full vaccination of workforces greater than 100 employees: “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.” The rule is expected to impact 80 million Americans and impose $14,000 fines on those who remain unvaccinated. If Biden’s tone and his abuse of executive power don’t upset you, it should. And it certainly has caused upset among lawmakers and political leaders across the nation.
The President’s intent to utilize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce vaccine mandates in the workplace has met with stern disapproval and legal pushback. Fox News reported late last week on Indiana Senator Mike Braun’s efforts to lead 42 fellow Republican lawmakers in their move to formally challenge Biden’s mandate. Braun describes the rule as “a highly inappropriate invasion of what should be a personal medical decision for every American” and calls on his colleagues to support the disapproval resolution in the coming weeks.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery took a stand as well against the unconstitutional nature of Biden’s mandate last week. Regarding the petition filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Slatery said, “the mandate asserts an unprecedented expansion of emergency regulatory powers by a federal agency.” The attorneys general of Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia joined also in the petition for review.
In addition to the legislative challenges levied by Republican lawmakers and attorneys general, several governors expressed their disapproval of Biden’s unlawful mandate. Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota announced also her participation in a lawsuit against the Biden administration. Disapproval of the President’s announcement is not exclusive to Republican governors, however, as Kansas Governor Laura Kelly stated that the President’s directive is not “correct” or the “most effective, solution for Kansas.”
Last week saw a flurry of both verbal and legal disapproval following Biden’s announcement of the OSHA-enforced deadline. By the week’s conclusion, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay on the order, pending further review. The decision cited “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by lawsuits filed, and the battle against federal overreach continues to unfold.