Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt vows to ‘vigorously challenge’ Biden’s vaccine mandate for private workers

Attorney General Derek Schmidt vowed Friday to “vigorously challenge” new vaccine mandates proposed by President Joe Biden that would require workers at large, private employers either get the shot or be subject to regular COVID-19 testing.

In an address to the nation in which he outlined a six-part plan, Biden said his administration also ordered that all federal employees and employees of government contractors must be vaccinated.

It was Biden’s private sector vaccine mandate that drew the most attention, however, with the president set to instruct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to draft a rule on the matter in the coming weeks. 

The mandate would affect employers with 100 workers or more and they would also be required to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. If workers choose not to be vaccinated, they would have to pass a weekly COVID-19 test to come to work.

Schmidt, as well as a cadre of Republican governors and attorneys general, have vowed to push back on the plan.

In a statement, Schmidt said he supported that Kansans be vaccinated but said “this important health-care decision is reserved for individual Americans not entrusted to the president and federal bureaucrats.”

“President Biden yesterday scolded ‘this is not about freedom,’ but the rule of law most certainly is,” Schmidt said. “If the president’s overreaching rhetoric becomes federal action, then rest assured we will vigorously challenge it.”

Other Kansas Republicans have slammed Biden for the move, including Republican members of the state’s Congressional delegation. 

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said the new mandates will “only deepen divisions in the country regarding the vaccines.”

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