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Missouri attorney general sues Biden administration over ‘unconstitutional’ vaccine mandate

  

Attorney General Eric Schmitt led a multistate lawsuit against the Biden administration Friday opposing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors. 

“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,” Schmitt said. “The federal government should not be mandating vaccinations, and that’s why we filed suit today – to halt this illegal, unconstitutional action.”

Schmitt, a Republican, led the lawsuit alongside Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. The coalition includes attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in September mandating federal contractors receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and a deadline of Dec. 8 was later imposed.

The coalition argued the order requiring federal employees to be vaccinated violated federal laws prohibiting the government from using state employees for federal purposes and regulating public entities’ hiring practices. It also pointed to a statute requiring federal agencies to accept comments on proposed rules for 60 days before they take effect. 

The attorneys general said federal contractors comprised one-fifth of the nation’s workforce. 

Florida’s governor and attorney general filed their own lawsuit to stop the mandates Thursday.

Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order allowing individuals in the executive branch of the state government to forgo the inoculation for medical or religious reasons Thursday and vowed to cooperate with Schmitt’s legal challenge.

“As governor of the state of Missouri, I stand with concerned Missourians and will do all I can to stop federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates,” Parson said Thursday. “When President Biden announced his initial plans to force unconstitutional vaccine mandates, we immediately began aligning state resources for legal action. While we hoped the Biden administration would recognize these mandates as the abuse of authority that they are, they have not, and we must now use every tool we have available to fight this federal intrusion.” 

Biden has also unveiled plans for companies with at least 100 employees to require employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing, another proposal Missouri Republicans, business owners, and health care workers have spoken out against.

Schmitt, a candidate for U.S. Senate, has challenged the Biden administration as Missouri’s attorney general on a myriad of issues, from family-planning clinic funding to immigration.

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