24 states threaten legal action over Biden's vaccine mandate
Twenty-four states threatened to sue the Biden administration on Thursday over the president's new rule to require employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations and frequent testing for their workers.
A group of Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden vowing to take legal action if he did not reverse course, arguing that the mandate would be illegal and unlikely to be successful as a public health measure.
"The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment," the letter reads. "But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement. Instead, you have offered the American people flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements, and threatening directives. It is almost as if your goal is to sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public's health."
Earlier this month, Biden directed the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to order employers with 100 employees or more to mandate vaccination or make workers submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The rule would impact tens of millions of private workers.
Republicans have issued public outcry against the directive, while Biden has stuck to his guns, defending it as crucial to the government's effort to boost vaccination rates in the face of surging cases and deaths from the disease.
“The vast majority of the American people know we have to do these things,” Biden said last week when asked about Republican criticism of the mandate. “They’re hard but necessary. We’re going to get them done.”
The mandate is sure to set the stage for a court battle with some state officials. One GOP attorney general, Mark Brnovich of Arizona, who was among the signatories on Thursday's letter, already filed suit against the administration earlier this week.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
The group of state attorneys general called on Biden to "allow people to make their own decisions" about the vaccine.
"If your Administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law," they wrote in their letter.