Republicans Bash Biden Over Vaccine Mandate Flip-Flop: 'Wanton Disregard for US Constitution'
08:31 GMT 10.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees of the US federal government “to promote the health and safety of the federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service”.
Congressional Republicans and state governors have reacted angrily to President Joe Biden's plan to require coronavirus vaccination for all federal workers
, accusing POTUS of overstepping his authority.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the senior Republican on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees health policy, claimed that Biden “continues to undermine confidence in safe and effective vaccines” by “using fear, control, and mandates”.
She was echoed by Greg Murphy, one of a few practising physicians in Congress and a GOP Doctors Caucus member, who told Fox News that she opposes government vaccine mandates, and that patients should consult their doctors when it comes to the issue of getting a jab.
“As I have repeatedly said, the decision about whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, like every other medical decision, is one that should be made between a patient and a doctor. The government does not know what is best for each patient, nor do they have the authority to dictate patient-doctor health care decisions”, Murphy insisted.
The same tone was struck by GOP member Neal Dunn, who asserted that “mandates are not the answer”, adding,: “Getting the vaccine should be up to you and your doctor — not the federal government”.
House Republican Lauren Boebert, in turn, tweeted, that “all 9 million federal employees” should consult their doctors and “make a personal, informed decision about taking the vaccine”. According to her, “Instead, Sleepy Joe says take it or else… You don’t lead by coercion. Biden has failed as a leader in every way”.
Other GOP members, including Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, meanwhile slammed Biden’s move to announce compulsory vaccination for federal workers as unconstitutional.
“From ignoring property rights, to shirking his duty at the border, and now, coercing private citizens to undergo a medical procedure, Joe Biden has shown a wanton disregard for the US Constitution. As a would-be autocrat, Biden endangers the very fibers of this great nation. Freedom and agency are the hallmarks of the American experiment”, Lee tweeted.
The view was supported by Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt who rejected Biden’s move as “unconstitutional”.
“The US Constitution does not give the President this type of authority. No where in Article 2 of the Constitution will you find anything that even remotely gives the President this kind of power”, Aderholt stressed.
House Republican Thomas Massie also criticised Biden’s order on federal workers’ obligatory vaccination, tweeting, “This is absolutely unconstitutional”.
1 September 2021, 23:22 GMT
Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, for her part, made it clear that her legal team is ready to file a lawsuit against Biden’s “unconstitutional rule”, noting that “this gross example of federal intrusion will not stand”.
Echoing her was GOP Arizona Governor Doug Ducey who pledged to stand up against POTUS as he asserted that “the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way”.
"This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good," Ducey added in another tweet. "How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined? The vaccine is and should be a choice. We must and will push back”, Ducey argued.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has, meanwhile, indicated RNC’s readiness to bring Biden to justice over his plan on compulsory vaccination.
"Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. […] Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden’s unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees, but when his decree goes into effect, the RNC will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties”, she pointed out.
In Thursday's address, Biden stressed that all businesses with more than 100 employees will be obliged either to require their staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or to provide weekly testing for the infection.
“It is essential that federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] have found that the best way to do so is to be vaccinated,” the ]president said.
He added that the Delta variant, the predominant coronavirus mutation in the US, is more contagious than other strains, which is why the nationwide public health emergency that was first introduced on 31 January 2020, remains in effect.
When asked at a press conference in December 2020 whether a federal vaccine mandate should be introduced, Biden said, “I don't think it should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power...as president of the United States to convince people to do the right thing.”
This was followed by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
stating in July it was “not the role of the federal government” to make vaccines obligatory. “That is the role that institutions, private-sector entities, and others may take. That certainly is appropriate,” Psaki said.