A growing number of GOP-led states are challenging President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors that's slated to take effect in the coming weeks.
“The federal government does not have the ability to strip individuals of their choice to get a vaccine or not. If the President thinks his patience is wearing thin, he is clearly underestimating the lack of patience from Texans whose rights he is infringing,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Friday.
The attorneys general in Missouri and Nebraska — Eric Schmitt and Doug Peterson, respectively — filed their lawsuit with eight other states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The officials argue that the Biden “exercised power far beyond what was delegated to the federal government by constitutional mandate or congressional action.”
The central argument in all three lawsuits is that the administration has no legal grounds to mandate such a sweeping requirement and that its implementation would violate a federal procurement law.
Biden announced the mandate for federal workers and contractors last month, when he also put in motion a rule that would require vaccinations or regular testing for employees of companies that have at least 100 workers. Federal contractors, however, would not be allowed to opt for testing instead of getting vaccinated.
Each state is seeking an immediate injunction to the rule, which is scheduled to take effect Dec. 8.
Public health experts have pointed to vaccinations as the most effective way to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
In September, Biden called on Republican governors to help combat the virus, but added, “if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”
Many Republican governors have fought the administration over its Covid-19 policies, from resisting mask mandates to banning private sector efforts to require proof of vaccination.
Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting any entity, including private businesses, from imposing Covid-19 vaccine requirements on employees or customers. Abbott said at the time that vaccines "should remain voluntary and never forced."