President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that employees of certain-sized private sector businesses need to be vaccinated:
Biden: "I'm announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this."
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is calling some Republican governors "cavalier" for resisting his call for new federal vaccine mandates that he hopes will finally contain the surging delta variant.
Biden visited Brookland Middle School on Friday, just a short drive from the White House. He was making the case for new federal rules he set out Thursday that could impact 100 million Americans.
Biden also pushed back against Republicans, and some union officials, who have charged that he is overreaching his authority. Asked about potential legal challenges to the new vaccine requirements, Biden responded, "Have at it."
Pushback was almost instantaneous, particularly from Republican governors who are vowing to fight the president and his call for mandated vaccinations. Also speaking publicly in opposition are conservative lawmakers like Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), who argues the vaccination decision should be left between people and their doctor.
"There should always be an exemption for medical or religious reasons, and I tell people talk to their physician," Blackburn (pictured above) stated on the "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" radio program. "I know several people [whose] physician has said You should not take the [vaccine]. You need to be very, very careful. Stay away from groups. But you cannot take this vaccine."
She continued: "This should be something you decide with your physician – not with a bureaucrat, not by the president of the United States or a federal agency. It should be a health care decision that you and your physician make."
Blackburn pointed out that the U.S. military has always had an exemption policy, something she believes should continue.
"To think that you can force people to get a vaccine against their will, force them to divulge their health information against their will," Blackburn fumed. "Are we going to do away with the health privacy laws? Are we going to force people every time they want to go somewhere to show proof of vaccination?"
Legal challenges sure to come
Legal challenges from private sector businesses and workers are expected. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, confirms that.
"The Biden administration has no authority to force any employee or employer to receive the COVID shots," he states in a press release. "We will challenge his lawless executive order."
In that same press release, Liberty Counsel contends the president's mandate "collides" with many state laws, as well as with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 – the latter of which applies to all levels of the federal government.