Submitted by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker
Sweeping Vaccine Orders Could Force Millions Out of Work
Last December, President-elect Joe Biden was asked whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandated. His answer was simple: “No, I don’t think they should be mandatory.” Fast forward almost a year, and the President has done a complete 180. Taking his cues from the most radical lockdown advocates, President Biden is now brushing aside personal freedom and issuing vaccine mandates left and right. As a result, millions of American workers across government, private industry, and the military are now facing the once-unthinkable prospect of losing their jobs over the vaccine.
It has been said that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” This past year has shown just how quickly an overbearing President can encroach on our freedoms if we allow him to do so. I have encouraged Americans to continue getting vaccinated, but it is wrong for the federal government to demand that individuals put a vaccine in their bodies under the threat of losing their jobs. I stand with the growing number of Americans who are pushing back on the President’s overreach. Individual freedom must not become a casualty of this pandemic.
Biden on Verge of Gutting American Workforce
Americans have made enormous sacrifices to keep our economy running throughout the pandemic. The people who drive our trucks, move our freight, and stock our shelves have worked nonstop to deliver essential goods to our communities. Yet many of those same workers could now lose their jobs because of President Biden’s mandates. His first executive order requires all federal employees to be vaccinated by November 22. His second order requires all businesses that contract with the federal government to have their employees vaccinated by December 8. Additionally, the Administration is planning to require every business with over 100 employees to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly. None of these directives take into account natural immunity, and together they will affect more than two-thirds of our nation’s workforce. Several states and labor groups are planning to challenge these mandates in court.
If they are not reversed, the President’s mandates will likely trigger mass layoffs, hurting our economy as well as our national security. According to the American Trucking Associations, major trucking companies could lose 37 percent of their drivers because of the mandates. This would worsen the already-severe gaps in our supply chain, making it even harder to shop for goods during the Christmas season. Additionally, thousands of airline pilots, aviation workers, and rail workers could be thrown out of work, bringing our transportation system to a halt. Layoffs could also cripple our defense industry – including in Mississippi, where thousands of shipbuilders and other military supply workers are not vaccinated. The military also stands to lose many active-duty service members who are refusing to take the vaccine. Our nation cannot afford these disastrous impacts, which are now looming because of the President’s ill-considered mandates.
Republicans Defend Worker Freedom
As the lead Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, I am working hard to protect personal freedom in the face of the President’s overreach. This past week, I sent a letter to the President detailing the extensive damage his private-sector mandate would do to our supply chain at the worst possible time, and urging him to reverse course. I am also cosponsoring legislation to block the Administration from using emergency powers to impose this mandate. In addition, I am pushing a bill to ensure that any of our troops who are separated from the military because of vaccine refusal are given an honorable discharge. We are a nation of laws, and President Biden is exceeding his authority with these top-down mandates. It falls to all of us to remind him that his powers are limited.
Submitted by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker.