Lankford Stands for Oklahoma Workers to Stop Biden’s Vaccine Mandate
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a press conference with Senate Republicans to discuss the Senate’s planned vote today on a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act against Biden’s vaccine mandate for private employers.
As Senate Republicans, now joined by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), plan to take action today to stop the mandate and send the resolution of disapproval to the House of Representatives for a simple-majority vote, Lankford was glad to see that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspended implementation and enforcement of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers after a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the measure in November. Over the weekend, Lankford penned an op-ed with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) on their support for the resolution of disapproval and calling their colleagues to support the move as well.
Lankford joined Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and all 48 of their Republican Senate colleagues to file a formal challenge against President Biden’s vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which is the official process for Congress to eliminate an Executive Branch rule. For several months, Lankford has pushed back on Biden’s vaccine mandates targeting federal employees, contractors, healthcare workers 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 stood firmly with the Oklahoma National Guard and Guard members around the nation twice last week to offer his bill on the Senate floor. Late last night, Lankford offered the legislation as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit the Department of Defense from discharging or withholding pay or benefits from members of the National Guard because of their COVID–19 vaccination status. Lankford also worked to secure a provision in this year’s NDAA to ensure service members are not dishonorably or less-than-honorably discharged if they choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is the United States of America. In the United States of America, we make decisions for our own lives. Months and months ago, I chose to be able to take the vaccine. I was grateful to be able to do that, grateful for the opportunity, grateful for the innovation and the science that actually went into developing the vaccine, but that was my choice. There are millions of people across the country that have determined they don’t want to take the vaccine. And in the United States where right now 95 percent of the adult population—92 percent—either has natural immunity based on having COVID and recovered or has the vaccine.
We’re in a very a very high rate of immunity right now across the country, and for the President of the United States to step up like he is the country’s dad, rather than the country’s president, to be able to step up and to say, ‘I don’t care how long you’ve worked there, how important you are to the company, what your task, what your role is, what you did during the pandemic when there was no vaccine, how you stood and served people in a vulnerable moment. I don’t care about any of that. If you don’t follow my orders, you’re fired.’
Number one: in the United States of America, that’s not the role of the President of the United States. The President of the United States cannot reach into every company and pick and choose who he wants hired and fired. And when I talk to employers in my state in Oklahoma, the most difficult issue they’re facing right now is the potential that they’re going to have huge fines in their company, if they don’t fire critical workforce that’s in their company. So they can either choose for their company to suffer and not be able to fulfill contracts and responsibilities that they have, not be able to fulfill orders that are already coming in because the President’s demanding that these individuals are fired, when these individuals worked during the pandemic.
Many of them have already had COVID and recovered and have natural immunity now, but because it’s not the President’s preference, they are as an employer struggling with whether they’re going to face OSHA fines or to be able to fulfill what their company normally does, to be able to stay open to fulfill orders.
This is what real life looks like across Oklahoma. Individuals right now are walking into Christmas thinking about in January they’re about to get fired. That’s the present that the President of the United States is giving to American families all over my state, ‘Consider over Christmas, what you’re going to do, because in January, I may work to get you fired.’ That’s not who we are as a country.
Let me just give you three quick stories.
One of them was an individual—actually this particular company has quite a few folks that are disabled individuals that work in their company—the company has more than 100 employees, and they’re struggling with the fact that many of these individuals have medical exemptions. Many of these things are very nebulous in the OSHA rules that are actually coming out. And the company is struggling with literally laying off individuals that are already disabled that for medical reasons are being told no.
One of my constituents is facing termination from not being vaccinated, works for a large company, and in this particular company, he’s already been told that he’s going to have sign two forms in the coming days. Now, he has been told by his doctor that he is at high risk of blood clots, and so he’s one of those individuals that’s concerned about getting the vaccine. But he’s being forced to sign two forms. The first form is to agree to be vaccinated or lose his job. The second form is to agree that if he has a negative reaction to the vaccine, he won’t sue the company. That’s not right.
Third quick story: this is somebody who works in a poultry farm in Oklahoma, has already been fired because this mandate’s been in place for a while., has no lost his home, and is living back with his parents again as an adult. That’s the gift that President Biden is giving to families in my state. Lose your job? Lose your house? Doesn’t care, just do what I tell you to do or be on your own.