Kansas GOP leaders lash out on President’s COVID mandates

President Biden lays out his next phase to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Biden lays out his next phase to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 10:44 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.

Kansas’ conservative leadership is speaking out against the President’s announcement:

.@POTUS’ vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our 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.

Sen. Dr. Roger Marshall (R - Kan.) (via Twitter)

“No president has the legal authority to decree a national vaccine mandate or to punish private businesses that refuse to discriminate against employees based on their health status. President Biden yesterday scolded ‘this is not about freedom,’ but the rule of law most certainly is. If the president’s overreaching rhetoric becomes federal action, then rest assured we will vigorously challenge it.

“To be clear, I continue to support Kansans choosing to be vaccinated, as I have. But this important health-care decision is reserved for individual Americans not entrusted to the president and federal bureaucrats.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R)

“There is no doubt that through the success of American science and ingenuity, the COVID-19 vaccine has provided the best shot at ending the pandemic and taking critical steps towards normalcy.

“I am vaccinated and I will continue to urge Kansans to get vaccinated. These decisions should be left to each individual, and that decision should be guided by conversations with trusted doctors and not dictated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, this government overreach comes at the expense of small business owners who are trying to strike a balance between keeping their businesses safe and open, and respecting their employees’ personal health decisions. This mandate will also only deepen divisions in the country regarding the vaccines, as well as make it even harder for employers to find workers and cause some employees to drop out of the workforce in protest.

“I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s extreme government overreach in requiring vaccinations and urge them to focus on solutions that will empower patients to make educated decisions of their own choosing.”

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

“Mandating over 100 million Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is both unprecedented and a complete overreach of the federal government. It’s clear that the COVID-19 vaccine saves lives, and I have and will continue to encourage Kansans to get it. With that being said, I firmly believe that every American has the constitutional right to consult with their healthcare provider and decide what’s best for them and their families.

Additionally, these mandates are a crushing blow to Kansas small businesses as they try to get back on their feet and navigate the growing labor shortage. Our hospitals are already stretched thin with medical professionals in rural Kansas and cannot afford to lose workers who do not wish to be vaccinated.

President Biden using the power of the White House to mandate and force private businesses to comply with federal mandates is dictatorial behavior and completely unacceptable. I will continue to do everything I can in Congress to fight against these federal mandates to help ensure personal liberty and freedom for all Kansans.”

Rep. Jake LaTurner, (R-KS)

“Yesterday, President Biden signed an executive order mandating that all federal employees and government contractors receive COVID-19 vaccinations and that all businesses with greater than 100 employees mandate vaccines. President Biden’s mandate is a gross misuse of the executive order, which does not grant the President the power to rob Americans of their right to make their own health care choices. President Biden’s mandate flies in the face of religious freedom and personal liberties as it fails to include exemptions for those who would decline vaccination based on religious or medical concerns, or even for those willing to produce negative COVID-19 tests in lieu of getting vaccinated.

This order affects more than 2.1 million federal employees and even more private-sector employees who contract with the federal government such as highway construction workers and conservation district employees officing in government facilities. A mandate like this will motivate many workers to seek outside employment where they can make their own health care decisions, exacerbating the already massive work shortages within government agencies and contracting arms.

This mandate increases the public skepticism that the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health have created by reversing their own guidance on the best COVID-19 protocol numerous times. President Biden and Vice President Harris even called into question the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness on the campaign trail, leading to a great deal of public doubt regarding the vaccine during President Trump’s tenure. President Biden contributed directly to the polarization and confusion of the American public, and with this order, he is now asking for our trust not because the situation has changed, but simply because he finds himself in the Oval Office.

Executive orders, when used correctly, can be good tools for governance. When they circumvent Congress, strong-arm the minority, or go against the wishes of the American people, they are categorically bad. When vaccines go through the proper protocol and testing and are proven to eradicate a disease (like Polio), they can be good. When federal vaccine mandates do not include religious and medical exemptions like the other 12 plus required vaccines we already have in this country, they are categorically bad. This executive order is not just overreaching, it is destructive to the sovereignty of the American people.”

Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS)

“We are outraged at the overreach of the Biden administration in attempting to push its agenda through executive fiat. Tyranny through executive order is not how we govern in a free society. Kansas Senate Republicans will oppose this unconstitutional overreach by every means available. We will stand for freedom and we will protect the rights of our citizens.”

Senate President Ty Masterson, Majority Leader Larry Alley, Vice President Rick Wilborn, Asst. Majority Leader Renee Erickson, and Majority Whip Richard Hilderbrand

“Yesterday, Joe Biden showed his complete disregard for states’ authority and issued an attack on businesses across the country. Biden is forcing an unconstitutional, un-American federal decree on businesses and families. The federal government has no authority to force private businesses in Kansas to mandate vaccines for employees. Kansas businesses are still recovering from the pandemic and the Kelly Administration’s failed response, and now Democrats want to place further authoritarian mandates on businesses.

Will Governor Kelly stand with Kansas families and businesses, or will she blindly follow Joe Biden?"

Kansas GOP Chairman Mike Kuckelman

“The Kansas Chamber and its members believe in the right of employers to determine their own policies for employees. In the case of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, regardless of the level of government, businesses should neither be required nor prevented from requiring the vaccination.”

Kansas Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb

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