Up to 11 states with Republican governors have challenged the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing in a lawsuit that the requirement is "unconstitutional" and "violates federal procurement law."
President Joe Biden on September 9 announced his strict COVID vaccine mandates for federal employees, which would affect thousands of federal and private employees across the country.
According to Reuters, a joint lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of Missouri by up to 10 states, namely Arkansas, Alaska, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Texas separately filed its own lawsuit against the Biden administration over its COVID vaccine mandate, while Florida filed one on Thursday.
The Friday lawsuits said that the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandates were "sweeping in its scope" and "unconstitutional and unlawful," and cited a constitutional amendment on state powers and federal laws on government procurement. In a video posted to Twitter, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds described the COVID vaccine requirement as "an abuse of power and we won't stand for it."
Gov. Reynolds lamented, "It will only worsen the workforce shortage and supply chain issues that hinder our economic recovery and it furthers the unprecedented government intrusion into our lives."
Meanwhile, ABC News reported that another group of states including Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration in the federal district court in Georgia. The states also requested a federal judge to block the Biden administration's requirement that all employees of federal contractors should be vaccinated by the December 8 deadline.
"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," Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri said in a statement.
"The federal government should not be mandating vaccinations, and that's why we filed suit today - to halt this illegal, unconstitutional action."
In September, President Joe Biden singled out Republican leaders, ordering them to help fight COVID. NBC News reported that according to the Democratic leader, "If these governors won't help us beat the pandemic, I'll use my power as president to get them out of the way."
But Republican leaders are not backing down. In Texas alone, Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an executive order banning any entity, including private organizations, from imposing COVID vaccine mandates on their employees or customers.
Last week, business groups who were worried that the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandate for private companies would cause a mass exit of employees, met with White House officials at the Office of Management and Budge to discuss if it was possible to move vaccine requirement deadlines to well after the holidays, CBNC reported.
Evan Armstrong, a lobbyist at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, lamented that the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandates may cause mass resignations that would increase staffing problems in businesses that are already struggling with shortages. The American Trucking Associations also warned the Biden administration that drivers are likely to quit over the COVID vaccine mandate, which would make a huge dent on the national supply chain, especially when there is already a shortage of upwards of 80,000 drivers.
"Now placing vaccination mandates on employers, which in turn force employees to be vaccinated, will create a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve," ATA president and CEO wrote in a letter submitted to the OMB on Thursday. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also formally asked the Biden administration to delay implementing its vaccine mandate after the holiday season.