JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Attorney General Eric Schmitt led 11 states in filing suit against the Biden administration Friday morning in an effort to halt President Biden’s new vaccine mandates for private employers and federal health care workers.
“The federal government should not be forcing private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated or foot the cost to test those employees weekly,” Schmitt said in a press release. “Local business owners have told me that the vaccine would decimate their businesses, including some that have been around for decades, and they’re certainly not alone – there are thousands of businesses in Missouri alone that could be negatively affected by this mandate.”
The first rule from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires private employers with 100 or more employees to force their workers to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing by Jan. 4. Unvaccinated employees must also wear a face mask while at work and employers are required to provide paid time off for their employees to get vaccinated.
Biden’s next requirement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is forcing all health care workers under Medicare and Medicaid programs to receive the vaccine by Jan. 4 with no option for weekly testing.
“I believe in freedom, I believe in responsibility,” said Schmitt, a candidate for U.S. Senate. “People can make these very important decisions themselves, and I’m going to do everything I can as Attorney General to protect the rights of individuals in the state.”
According to the White House, the new mandates would force two-thirds of the country’s entire workforce to either receive the vaccine or submit to weekly testing, an unprecedented mandate that many have labeled intrusive and unconstitutional.
There are 3,443 private employers in Missouri with over 100 employees, according to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. That equals a total of almost 1.3 million Missourians that could be impacted by the new requirements.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, states that the new requirements are “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise.”
“The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment,” the petition reads.
Schmitt has been a leader in fighting against COVID-19 restrictions, tallying up several lawsuits against local mask mandates in Missouri along with challenging Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers last week.
The lawsuit is asking the court for an immediate stay pending judicial review.