AG calls on White House to withdraw vaccine mandates for healthcare workers

In his latest move against mandated COVID-19 vaccines, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has called on the White House to withdraw its mandate.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 2:30 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - In his latest move against mandated COVID-19 vaccines, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has called on the White House to withdraw its mandate for healthcare workers.

On Monday, Nov. 21, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he has called on President Joe Biden’s Administration to withdraw its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers and all related guidance. He argued that the continued efforts for compliance violate the rights of workers and the authority of the states.

Last week, AG Schmidt said he joined a coalition of 21 other attorneys general to file a petition under the Administrative Procedures Act to request the U.S. Department of Health and Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services take immediate action to repeal the Interim Final Rule and State Surveyor Guidance.

Schmidt said the guidance requires participating healthcare facilities to “develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that all staff are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.”

Schmidt indicated that the mandate has violated the rights of healthcare workers and worsened staffing shortages in the sector - especially in rural and frontier states such as Kansas. He said the IFR regulates more than 10 million workers and suppliers in the U.S. Of those, he said CMS estimated that 2.4 million had been unvaccinated when the IFR was issued.

“CMS’s objective is to coerce the unvaccinated workforce into submission or cause them to lose their livelihoods,” the attorneys general wrote. “If CMS succeeds in coercing states to enforce the IFR against their own citizens, these healthcare workers will lose their jobs (or not return if they already have), states will lose frontline healthcare workers, providers, suppliers, and services, and America’s most vulnerable populations will lose access to necessary medical care.”

The AG noted that the mandate violates the states’ sovereign right to enact and enforce laws and exercise their police power on matters like compulsory vaccination and has fundamentally changed the deal under which they agreed to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Additionally, Schmidt said the AGs argue the IFR is arbitrary and capricious, structurally defective and exceeds statutory authority. Constitutionally speaking, he said it violates the 10th Amendment, Non-delegation, Major Questions and Anti-Commandeering doctrines as well as the Spending Clause.

In November 2021, Schmidt indicated that he filed a suit to challenge the CMS mandate. The courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, declined to grant preliminary injunctive relief which allowed the mandate to remain in effect as it was legally challenged.

The AG said the challenge remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, though it presumably would be rendered moot if CMS agreed to withdraw the mandate as the states now ask.

Schmidt noted that this petition is the latest action he has taken to push back against the insistence on a one-size-fits-all approach to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October, Schmidt said he joined a coalition of state attorneys general to object to an advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to include the COVID vaccine on a list that states often rely upon to decide which childhood vaccines to require. He said votes taken on the matter were premature.

To read a full copy of the petition sent to CMS, click HERE.