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Lankford, Braun Lead 39 Colleagues In Overturning Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Mike Braun (R-IN) led more than 39 Senators to formally move to disapprove and nullify President Biden’s vaccine mandate on private companies and their employees under the Congressional Review Act, the official process for Congress to eliminate an Executive Branch rule.

Joining Lankford and Braun in the disapproval are Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT),  Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rand Paul (R-KY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

This week, President Biden is expected to issue a rule to officially mandate vaccination requirements for private businesses with more than 100 employees. The rule will affect more than 80 million Americans and impose $14,000 fines for persons who do not comply. 

This rule by the Biden Administration is a highly inappropriate invasion of what should be a personal medical decision for every American. The federal vaccine mandate threatens to worsen the current labor shortage and further disrupt supply chains. This unacceptable federal directive impacts tens of millions of Americans and warrants review by Congress, the representatives elected by the American people to make the laws.

President Biden is playing a game of chicken with Oklahomans’ lives and livelihoods. No one should have to choose between their job and their personal health care decisions. I have pushed hard against the vaccine mandates since they were first announced by introducing bills to repeal the mandate for federal employees and contractors and protect service members from dishonorable discharge and speaking directly to agency heads to share the real impacts these mandates are already having on Oklahomans. Now my colleagues and I are urging others to take a stand and vote in favor of our resolution to overturn Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses and their employees. I will continue to fight to preserve our liberties and against Biden’s extreme overreach,” said Lankford.

“Since the announcement of President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate in September, I have led the charge to strike down this vast overstep of authority by the federal government. Today, we are one step closer to protecting the liberties of millions of Americans in the private sector workforce under the Congressional Review Act. I urge my Senate colleagues to vote in favor of this disapproval resolution in the coming weeks,” said Braun.  

“This rule is an unconstitutional overreach by the President of the United States, pure and simple. Individual freedoms and the rule of law are too often an afterthought with this administration, while broken promises continue piling up. We all want to put this pandemic behind us, but the decision to vaccinate is an individual choice, and should not be mandated by the federal government. The federal government does not have the constitutional or statutory authority to take this action, and to make this clear we will be exercising our Congressional authority to overturn this rule with a Congressional Review Act Resolution,” said Sullivan.

“At a time when businesses across the country are already suffering the crippling consequences of labor shortages, supply chain turmoil, and skyrocketing inflation, the last thing they need is another federal regulation making it even harder to find and retain workers. While I believe in the effectiveness of the vaccine, this is a personal decision for each American, in consultation with his or her doctor, not the federal government. Congress must protect Americans’ individual liberties and livelihoods by rejecting this unconstitutional overreach by President Biden,” said Hagerty.

“President Biden’s vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our entire constitutional system of limited government. The White House continues to ignore the Constitution as well as the science proving the benefits of natural immunity so they can justify an Executive Order that wipes out Americans’ control over their own healthcare options. Simply put, the Administration is overstepping its authority and we must hold them accountable with a formal challenge under the Congressional Review Act. As a former physician who believes the vaccine has saved countless lives, I stand by my belief that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice that should be made following a conversation with one’s doctor instead of being administered across the board by government decree,” said Marshall. 

“The President cannot rule by decree. President Biden’s mandate is the most egregious incursion on the medical rights of Americans in our nation’s history, and it clearly exceeds the President’s power. This resolution will allow Congress to protect the American people and the Constitution,” said Lee.

“Amidst a labor shortage, a supply chain crisis, and on the brink of the holiday season, President Biden should be working to help private businesses rebound from the pandemic. Instead, he’s trying to force government into what should be a personal health decision between individuals and their doctors. A vaccine mandate on private businesses is frankly un-American, and I’m proud to join Senator Mike Braun to oppose it,” said Lummis.

“Once again, President Biden is stretching the limit of his legal authority to mandate Americans and business owners into compliance. At a time when businesses are struggling to find workers and keep up with demand, the Administration is further shrinking the workforce by forcing Americans to choose between their job and their personal health care decisions. The Biden Administration does not have the constitutional authority to take this action, and our resolution seeks to protect personal liberty, our economy, and the Constitution,” said Cramer.

“While I continue to advocate for folks who are eligible to get the safe and effective vaccine, I’m extremely opposed to President Biden’s government vaccine mandate on private businesses. Every business is unique. Right now, they’re facing a worker shortage crisis and a sluggish economy. They don’t need additional red tape on top of all that. Furthermore, every American should have the ability to make their own decision about the vaccine,” said Grassley.

“President Biden vowed last year that we would not impose a vaccine mandate, and today he went back on his word. Under the previous administration, three COVID-19 vaccines were developed, and I’ve consistently promoted their safety and effectiveness. But, the federal government should not be dictating to businesses that they must comply with a vaccine mandate or face fines, which will affect tens of millions of private sector employees. On behalf of every West Virginian who values their individual liberties, it’s appropriate for Congress to challenge and overrule this federal overreach through the Congressional Review Act,” said Moore Capito.

“President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates only further fuel his supply chain and inflation crises. It’s a gross overreach of power and forces Americans to make a choice: comply, quit their job or get fired. I chose to get the vaccine and encourage others to speak with their doctor about the benefits about getting vaccinated. But, it’s something every American gets to decide for themselves and their families. The government’s role should be providing the best information to the people and letting them make their own decisions. I’m proud to join my colleagues in fighting to protect the freedoms of American workers and blocking Biden’s unconstitutional mandates,” said Scott.

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate unfairly hits small businesses already struggling with staffing shortages. Congress should act immediately to nullify this mandate,” said Cotton. 

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate would force many Americans either to violate their consciences or lose their jobs. This overreach contradicts the president’s earlier promise that he wouldn’t impose such a mandate. I’m happy to partner with my colleagues to oppose this power grab,” said Kennedy.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in challenging this mandate on behalf of the 29 million Texas who deserve to have their medical privacy rights respected by their employers and the federal government. While I support the vaccine and have received it, Americans have the right to exercise personal choice regarding their health. Getting the vaccine is a decision to be made in consultation with one’s doctor, not forced on Americans by the government. With this new, far-reaching COVID mandate, President Biden is once again putting politics over science, and with the stroke of a pen placing yet another cruel burden on American businesses as an inflation crisis continues to worsen,” said Cruz. 

“President Biden’s unconstitutional federal vaccine mandates are an extreme abuse of power that puts Americans’ livelihoods in the crosshairs. In addition, the mandate threatens to wreck the economy. A large percentage of American workers will simply leave the workforce rather than be told what to do by the federal government. This legislation would overturn the President’s mandate on private employers and protect millions of hardworking Americans from an intrusion on their personal liberty,” said Wicker.

“In a free country, people have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. President Biden’s command that working Americans and private businesses submit to his mandate upon penalty of loss of livelihood is unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of power. No president, regardless of political party should be allowed to implement such a brazen power grab, and the Congressional Review Act allows Congress to rightfully overturn President Biden’s anti-American dictate,” said Paul.

“The United States is not China or some other tyrannical country. President Biden exceeded his authority in his rush to force the vaccines on the American people. I believe the COVID-19 vaccines save lives, but I also trust the American people to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families at this point in the pandemic,” said Hyde-Smith.

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate is government overreach. Our nation is already facing a workforce shortage, and this mandate will exacerbate this situation while also infringing on the rights of Americans,” said Hoeven.

“The decision to get vaccinated should be left to each individual in consultation with doctors they trust. President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate is a clear overreach of executive authority that threatens to worsen the labor shortages faced by private businesses in Kansas and across the country. This administration’s abuse of power must be checked, and I support this resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the federal vaccine mandate,” said Moran.

“An individual’s decision to take – or not to take – the vaccine is their personal choice. President Biden’s authoritarian vaccine mandate has already created workforce shortages and wreaked havoc on our supply chains. The Constitutional rights of the American people do not simply vanish because the Biden administration thinks they know best, which is why I will continue to push back against this outrageous government overreach,” said Tuberville.

“As president-elect, Biden said on vaccines, ‘I don’t think it should be mandatory, I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory.’  Yet, now he has. We are already suffering severe worker shortages throughout our economy, especially in health care. Vaccine mandates will increase these shortages and degrade our health care system. I will continue to support and fight for those who believe in individual freedom, health autonomy and privacy, and oppose vaccine mandates and vaccine passports,” said Johnson.

“This unconstitutional decision by President Biden to officially mandate the vaccine within the private sector is yet another example of intrusive government overreach that threatens the livelihoods of Oklahomans and jeopardizes the continued recovery of small businesses that are the backbone of our state. The individual decision to get the vaccine should not be mandated by Washington bureaucrats and I am proud to join Sen. Braun and many of my colleagues in introducing legislation to reverse this out-of-touch national mandate,” said Inhofe.

“I have serious concerns about President Biden dictating arbitrary mandates to private businesses. While I feel strongly that vaccines are safe and help protect all of us, especially the immunocompromised, forcing private businesses to impose a vaccine mandate on their employees clearly exceeds the president’s authorities. Our legislation would reverse this decision and protect the personal freedom of millions of Americans,” said Rounds.

“As grocery store shelves sit empty and Tennessee businesses struggle to fill jobs, President Biden should be doing everything in his power to find a solution. Instead, Biden issued an ultimatum to force countless American workers to get jabbed or be fired. His unconstitutional power betrays American workers who sacrificed their safety to keep the country running,” said Blackburn.

“President Biden’s overreaching vaccine mandate is Washington, DC at its worst. It will hurt Montana small businesses and workers at a time when we should be doing all we can to support them. While I will continue to encourage all Montanans to talk with their doctor about getting a safe and effective COVID vaccine, I will continue to fight back against these mandates,” said Daines.

“The egregious federal overreach exhibited by President Biden’s vaccine mandate unfairly burdens our nation’s businesses and endangers our individual liberties. I encourage Idahoans to consult with their healthcare provider about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. However, getting vaccinated is a decision the federal government cannot make. Individuals must make this decision themselves,” said Risch.

“Vaccines have historically proven to be vital to the public health goal of disease prevention. We had record vaccine development, thanks to American medical ingenuity and Operation Warp Speed. However, a one-size-fits-all federal mandate on vaccines and private business practices is not a reasonable solution now–or ever. Medical decisions are best left to patients and their doctors. I will continue to fight to ensure the federal government stays within its authorities entrusted to it by the Constitution,” said Crapo.

“Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate is an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental rights of American citizens. More than that, it unlawfully bypasses established regulatory procedures. Congress, not the President, has the authority to make law. He is ignoring this basic principle by forcing employers to require their workers be vaccinated, undergo rigorous testing procedures, or be fired. It’s wrong, will make our nation’s economic challenges worse, and must not be allowed to go into effect,” said Hawley.

“With his latest order, President Biden is attempting to weaponize the federal bureaucracy to force job creators to become the vaccination and testing police. At a time when we should be doing everything possible to get Americans back to work safely, this politically-driven mandate will unnecessarily stifle private sector job growth across the country,” said Keller. 

The National Federation of Small Businesses said of the mandates: “Small businesses face daily challenges from pandemic requirements, locating qualified workers, rampant inflation, and supply chain disruptions. Small business owners and their employees want to operate in a safe and healthy manner that allows them to stay open. Additional mandates, enforcement, and penalties will further threaten the fragile small business recovery.” 

BACKGROUND:  

On September 8, Joe Biden announced via a speech vaccine mandates that extend to 80 million private sector workers and additional mandates on millions of federal workers and contractors. These mandates are expected to force private-sector employers with more than 100 employees to become vaccinated or produce at-least-weekly negative test results before coming to work. And as announced, the federal employee and contractor plan doesn’t even include the option of weekly testing rather than taking a vaccine.

To implement this mandate, OSHA promulgated an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). 

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) can be used by Congress to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval. If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto, the rule at issue is invalidated.

For several months, Lankford has pushed back on Biden’s vaccine mandates targeting federal employees, contractors, and the military. Lankford tried to force a vote on his Stop Vaccine Mandate Act, which was blocked by Democrats. Lankford introduced the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act to repeal President Biden’s Executive Order that mandates vaccines for federal employees and federal contractors. Lankford has been vocal about President Biden’s Executive Order. He sent a letter to President Biden outlining his concerns with the vaccine mandates and has stood firmly with Oklahoma service members, health care workers, federal employees, and private-sector workers who have chosen so far not to be vaccinated.

Lankford immediately opposed Biden’s vaccine mandate when it was announced in early September. Lankford received the vaccine and continues to encourage Oklahomans to get the vaccine. But he does not believe anyone should be forced to choose between their job and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Lankford penned an op-ed on how Biden’s vaccine mandate and insistence that everyone should just “do what he says” looks more like something from the communist Chinese government or Putin’s Russia, not the United States.

  

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