Attorney General Todd Rokita Thursday called on President Joe Biden to reconsider and immediately reverse his plan to force many private-sector companies to require workers to either get COVID-19 vaccinations, submit to weekly testing or potentially lose their jobs.
“This gross example of federal bureaucratic overreach has nothing to do with whether it’s a good idea to get vaccinated,” Attorney General Rokita said. “But it has everything to do with the Biden administration’s total disrespect for individual liberties and the prerogative of states to govern their own affairs.”
In a multistate letter to President Biden, Attorney General Rokita and 23 other attorneys general explain that the Biden administration’s “disastrous and counterproductive” plan amounts to an illegal use of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
On Sept. 9, President Biden announced he would impose the mandate via an emergency temporary standard issued by the U.S. Department of Labor under the aforementioned act. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be charged with enforcing the mandate.
“If the president does not reverse course, he’s going to face lawsuits,” Attorney General Rokita said.
Allowing the U.S. Department of Labor to mandate vaccines alters the constitutional balance of power, which gives states primary authority over such matters.
“States have taken varying approaches to dealing with the virus,” the letter states, “and, whether you like it or not, that is how our constitutional structure is arranged.”
A draconian mandate might not have the intended effect of increasing the numbers of vaccinated Americans. And such a measure might further deplete the ranks of needed workers in fields such as health care when employees choose to leave jobs rather than comply with the mandate.
“From a policy perspective,” the letter states, “this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds — it will simply drive further skepticism.”
Even avid proponents of getting vaccinated are troubled by the Biden administration’s overreach.
“The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment,” the letter states. “But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement.”