President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate for companies with 100 or more employees now has opposition from members of his own party, with Democrat Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly leading the charge.
In a statement released on Friday, Kelly said the vaccine mandate will not be the “correct” solution for Kansas — a state that overwhelmingly swung for former President Donald Trump in 2020, 56 percent to Biden’s 41 percent.
“Yesterday, I reviewed the new vaccine mandate from the Biden Administration. While I appreciate the intention to keep people safe, a goal I share, I don’t believe this directive is the correct, or the most effective, solution for Kansas,” she said.
Kelly said that Biden’s vaccine mandate comes “too late” in the face of states developing their own public health strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs,” she asserted. “I will seek a resolution that continues to recognize the uniqueness of our stat and builds on our ongoing efforts to combat a once-in-a-century crisis.”
Governor Laura Kelly's statement addressing the new federal vaccine mandate: pic.twitter.com/lAFAs3pQLK
— Governor Laura Kelly (@GovLauraKelly) November 5, 2021
Prior to her statement, Kelly argued that vaccine mandates like the one proposed by the Biden administration “tend not to work.”
“We have not mandated a vaccine in the state of Kansas. We have done everything we can to encourage people and to make it easy for folks to get vaccinated,” Kelly said. “I’ve lived in Kansas a long time and I understand that those kinds of things tend not to work.”
As the Associated Press noted, Kelly’s opposition to President Biden’s vaccine mandate most likely stems from the fact that she faces a tough reelection campaign in a solid red state where she will be facing off against her Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who has already filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration.
This morning I filed a second lawsuit challenging another of the Biden administration's attempts to mandate vaccinations by threatening to punish businesses that employ unvaccinated workers. This time we are challenging the legality of the OSHA mandate. https://t.co/M5drGnaI1U
— Derek Schmidt (@DerekSchmidtKS) November 5, 2021
This past September, President Biden announced that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will mandate that private companies with 100 or more employees implement vaccine mandates or require weekly negative tests. The president waited nearly two months before releasing the details of his plan, which would not have even taken effect until January of 2022. A company in violation of the mandate could be fined $136,532.
The president’s plan encountered a roadblock on Saturday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court issued a temporary stay blocking the mandate while considering a permanent injunction.
The ruling from a three-judge panel on Saturday resulted from a stay sought by the states of Texas, Utah, Mississippi, and South Carolina, as well as several businesses that oppose the Biden plan. The states and businesses filed a petition of review of the agency action, which goes directly to a federal appeals court instead of a one-judge federal district trial court.
“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the judges wrote.
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