After filing the first lawsuit in the country against President Joe Biden over his sweeping business COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich next signed onto a letter with 23 other attorneys general to Biden listing their objections, including non-legal ones. The attorneys general stress that the mandate will drive healthcare workers out of hospitals where they are desperately needed. If Biden does not reverse course, the 24 threaten to sue the administration.
“President Biden’s vaccine mandate lacks both legal authority and integrity,” Brnovich said in a statement. “I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues to push back on this assault on state sovereignty and the liberties of Americans.”
Biden’s order mandates that businesses with over 100 employees require their workers to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing. The attorneys general warn Biden that the mandate will further decimate the already depleted workforce. They cited the announcement by a New York hospital to stop delivering babies after several healthcare workers resigned due to New York’s mandate. They note that these aren’t “outliers” quitting; a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that “of unvaccinated workers not required to be vaccinated, only 16% would get vaccinated, 35% would ask for an exemption, and 42% would quit.”
They cautioned, “Your vaccine mandate represents not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable health workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans.”
The letter cites the contradictory message coming from the Biden administration about the COVID-19 vaccine. On the one hand, the administration touts “only one out of every 160,000 fully vaccinated Americans was hospitalized for COVID per day.” But “the mandate sends exactly the opposite signal, it suggests that the vaccinated need protection” from the unvaccinated.
The Biden administration ignores herd immunity, the attorneys general point out. Probably half of all Americans have been infected now. Employees who work from home don’t need to worry about exposure, so “A one-size-fits-all policy is not reasoned decision-making,” they assert. “It is power for power’s sake.”
The attorneys general state that the edict is illegal. They explain how the rarely used emergency temporary standard provision in the OSH Act which Biden used has been treated skeptically by courts due to the lack of notice and comment. Furthermore, Biden cannot show that employees are in “grave danger” which is required for an emergency temporary standard. “Your own statements during the announcement that those who are vaccinated have little chance of hospitalization or death undercut any assertion that there is ‘grave danger.’” They also explain now the Osh Act applies to work-related hazards, not harms in the world generally.
Finally, the attorneys general note how regulating the health and well-being of Americans is left to the states to regulate, not the federal government. They state that Biden is again overreaching federal powers, going even further after his eviction moratorium was struck down by the Supreme Court.
“While the Supreme Court opined that your earlier ‘claim of expansive authority … is unprecedented,’ your latest gambit goes even further,” the state attorneys general wrote.
CNN reports that workers in five industries will be affected the most by Biden’s vaccine mandate. This is because more than 80% of the workforce for those five industries are employed by businesses with a staff of at least 100 employees. They are management, utilities, information, finance and insurance, and administration and waste management services.
The other attorneys general who signed the letter are from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Brnovich currently has four other lawsuits against the Biden administration, all related to illegal immigration.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Attorney General Mark Brnovich” by Attorney General Mark Brnovich.