Tennessee Governor Bill Lee this week announced he will fight U.S. President Joe Biden’s stricter and newly-announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
“To be clear: the vaccine is the best tool we have to combat the pandemic but heavy-handed mandates are the wrong approach,” Lee tweeted Thursday.
In another tweet, Lee said “the Constitution won’t allow this power grab, and in the meantime, I will stand up for all Tennesseans.”
Lee, in his next tweet, quoted Biden’s own words on Thursday.
“‘This is not about freedom’ is a phrase that should never come out of a U.S. President’s mouth,” Lee wrote.
The Tennessee Star contacted Lee’s communications staff Friday and asked how, specifically, Lee plans to stand up for Tennesseans and fight the Biden administration. We also asked whether Lee has consulted or will consult with other governors on the matter. Lee’s communications staff did not return two requests for comment before Friday’s stated deadline.
Biden’s new mandate will use the U.S. Department of Labor to require all employers with more than 100 workers to have those employees vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. That will affect about 80 million Americans, Biden said. Those employers must also provide paid time off for those employees to get vaccinated.
Biden added that he is signing executive orders to require all executive branch employees and federal government contractors to get vaccinated, and they do not have an option to take a COVID-19 test instead.
Biden said that those who are unvaccinated are “blocking public health,” and that “this is not about freedom or personal choice, it’s about protecting yourself and those around you.”
He also urged large entertainment venues such as sports arenas and movie theaters to require either vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
To Americans who are unvaccinated, Biden asked what more they have to wait for, as the COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, convenient and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA has only given full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only available through FDA emergency use authorization.
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