Fitch, 20 other attorneys general challenging federal contractor vaccine mandate

Attorney General Lynn Fitch
Attorney General Lynn Fitch
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is throwing her support behind an effort to challenge President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

Thursday, she joined 20 other attorneys general in signing on to an open letter to the president saying the mandate “stands on shaky ground.”

The letter comes just days after the federal vaccine mandate was expanded further to include employees at public universities.

This week, IHL determined that most employees at the state’s eight public universities would be required to take the COVID-19 mandate, citing an executive order from Biden that requires employees who do work connected to federal contracts to be vaccinated.

“I have serious concerns about the president’s federal contractor vaccine mandate,” she wrote. “And those concerns have become graver as the various task forces and agencies in the federal bureaucracy have weighed in with guidance on implementing that mandate.”

“Forcing people to vaccinate or lose their jobs is a flawed premise - that decision belongs to each individual - and the mismanaged execution of that idea demonstrates how utterly unworkable it is as a national policy.”

On Sept. 9, Biden directed federal departments and agencies to include a clause in contracts “requiring all contractors and subcontractors (to) ensure adequate COVID safety protocols.”

The order also mandates all contractors and subcontractors comply with guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, provided that the guidance is approved by the director of Office and Budget Management.

The task force was put in place by the president in January and is made up of several government officials, including the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Its duty is to “provide ongoing guidance to heads of agencies on the operation of the federal government, the safety of its employees, and the continuity of government functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 24, the task force mandated that all contractors working on federal contracts, as well as employees who work for those contractors, even if they are not directly involved with the federal government contract.

According to the task force, “these safeguards will decrease the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which will decrease worker absence, reduce labor costs and improve the efficiency of contractors and subcontractors performing work for the federal government.”

Fitch and others say that the task force’s rules overstep the president’s executive action, and they’re asking for Biden to step in and address it.

“We strongly urge you to instruct the task force and federal agencies to halt any efforts to implement the federal contractor mandate,” the attorneys wrote. “All citizens - including federal contractors - have the right to make their own decision about whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Other attorneys general signing on include those representing Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is shown below.

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