KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and slow the spread of the delta variant that is killing thousands each week.
The Biden administration announced that all employers with 100-plus employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson and other GOP political leaders in Kansas and Missouri released statements Thursday criticizing the president’s decision.
“The Biden administration’s recent announcement seeking to dictate personal freedom and private business decisions is an insult to our American principles of individual liberty and free enterprise,” Parson tweeted. “This heavy-handed action by the federal government is unwelcome in our state and has potentially dangerous consequences for working families.”
Parson went on to say that his administration will fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit freedoms.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, tweeted “Missouri has been a national leader in pushing back against the Biden administration and COVID related mandates. Biden’s historic overreach on vaccine mandates will not stand in Missouri. We’re at a crossroads in America — who we are and what we’re going to be. We must fight back.”
Schmitt, who has lawsuits filed against both Kansas City, Missouri and Jackson County over mask mandates, went on to say “no vaccine mandates. No mask mandates. No lockdowns. No vaccine passports.”
U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) tweeted Thursday that Biden’s vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, civil liberties and the entire constitutional system of limited government.
“This will likely get struck down in the courts but is a terrifying glimpse of the new Marxist Dem Party,” Marshall tweeted. “Every governor in America who believes in the constitution, the liberty of their citizens and the future of our republic must defy this president.”
Representative Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said he strongly opposes Biden’s vaccine mandate.
“This is just the latest example of the extreme executive overreach by this administration,” Graves said. “Quite frankly, it seems like a desperate attempt to distract from his disgraceful bungling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.”
The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said. The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated.
The rule would also require that large companies provide paid time off for vaccination.
You can read more information about his plan here.
The Biden administration has said booster shots will be available by Sept. 20, but federal regulators have not confirmed if they will meet that deadline due to questions about the data related to a third shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.