On Sept. 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating all employees of the executive branch of the federal government in the United States to be fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus by Nov. 22, 2021. “It’s simple: If you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated, President Biden said.1 2 In the executive order, he writes:
I have determined that ensuring the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service requires immediate action to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce. It is essential that Federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public. The CDC has found that the best way to do so is to be vaccinated.1
President Biden also signed a second executive order COVID vaccinations for all contractors of the federal government. A vaccination deadline for contractors was not specified but will be provided by the White House’s Safe Federal Workforce Task Force by Sept. 24. “If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated,” President Biden said. “If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce.”3 4
Employers With 100 or More Employees Affected
Along with the two executive orders, President Biden announced that he had instructed the U.S. Department of Labor to issue an emergency rule mandating employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that they all be fully vaccinated or provide a negative test for COVID at least once a week. The rule would reportedly affect two-thirds of the U.S. workforce and carry a $14,000 fine for each violation.1
Additionally, President Biden said that people working at the approximately 50,000 hospitals and other health care facilities that are reimbursed through the Medicare and Medicaid program would be required to be vaccinated. This would reportedly affect 17 million employees.1
Referring to the roughly 80 to 100 million people in the U.S. who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, President Biden said, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. Your refusal has cost all of us.”2
Biden Promised U.S. Government Would Not Make COVID Vaccines Mandatory
The moves by President Biden run in sharp contrast to promises he made during his campaign for the presidency last year. “I don’t think [vaccination for COVID] should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory. Just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide, ” then former Vice President Biden said. “You can’t say everyone has to do this.”5
As recently as July 30, 2021, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, MD stated:
There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.6
Executive Orders Face Growing Opposition and Lawsuits
The White House’s new executive orders, which could affect about 100 million people, are already facing legal challenges. On Sept. 13, the attorney general of Arizona, Mark Brnovich, filed a lawsuit against the COVID vaccine mandates. Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, said:
Now the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way. This will never stand up in court. … This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined? The vaccine is and should be a choice. We must and will push back.8
The governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, promised that his state and other states would follow suit.7 He said:
I can promise you this: We will be ready for the legal challenges that are likely to come, and New Hampshire will participate one way or another. We need folks to get vaccinated, there’s just no question about that. But this whole, with a sweep of a pen, we’re going to force it on 100 million Americans. … This was not the right approach.9
Wyoming’s governor, Mark Gordon, also promised to fight the mandates in court. He said:
We cannot sit on our hands just watching this egregious example of federal government overreach. We are already communicating with other governors and states to prepare legal options…10
South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, stated:
Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.11
The chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Ronna McDaniel, said that the RNC will sue the Biden administration to “protect Americans and their liberties.”8
For his part, President Biden simply responded: “Have at it.”12
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Click here to view References:
1 The White House. Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Sept. 9, 2021.
2 Pettypiece S, Przybyla H, Egan L. Biden announces sweeping vaccine mandates affecting millions of workers. NBC News Sept. 9, 2021.
3 Ogrysko N. Biden will now require vaccines for all federal employees via new executive order. Federal News Network Sept. 9, 2021.
4 Pines Federal. Biden Signs Executive Order to Require Vaccines for All Federal Employees. Sept. 9, 2021.
5 Mordock J. ‘You can’t say everyone has to do this’: Biden vaccine mandates break his 2020 campaign promise. The Washington Times Sept. 10, 2021.
6 Villarreal D. CDC Director Says There Will Be No Federal Vaccine Mandate, Says She ‘Understands Pushback’. Newsweek July 30, 2021.
7 Quinn M. Arizona sues Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandates. CBS News Sept. 15, 2021.
8 Harper C. Legal challenges await Biden’s vaccine mandate. Washington Examiner Sept. 13, 2021.
9 Ramer H. Sununu eager to challenge Biden vaccine mandate in court. Associated Press Sept. 15, 2021.
10 RocketMiner.com. Governor Gordon joins with legislative leaders to fight against Biden’s vaccine mandates. Sept. 15, 2021.
11 Colton E. Governor promises to fight Biden to ‘gates of hell’ as GOP states mount vaccine mandate defense. Fox News Sept. 10, 2021.
12 Klein B, Sullivan K. Biden to GOP critics looking to challenge new vaccine requirements in court: ‘Have at it’. CNN Sept. 10, 2021.