Last Thursday, twenty-four states threatened to sue the Biden administration over the president’s new rule mandating vaccinations and frequent testing for employers with more than 100 employees.

A group of Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden vowing to take legal action if he did not reverse course, arguing that the mandate would be illegal and unlikely to be successful as a public health measure.

“The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment,” the letter reads. “But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement. Instead, you have offered the American people flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements, and threatening directives. It is almost as if your goal is to sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public’s health.”

List of 24 states

Here are those 24 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The group of state attorneys general called on Biden to “allow people to make their own decisions” about the vaccine.

The letter, which was addressed to the president on September 16, reads: “We thus urge you to reconsider your unlawful and harmful plan and allow people to make their own decisions. If your Administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law.”  

The letter calls the plan “disastrous and counterproductive” and says the dangers of the coronavirus don’t demand an OSHA emergency mandate.

“Mr. President, your vaccination mandate represents not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans,” the letter reads.

According to the attorneys general, “at least some Americans” will quit their jobs as a result, putting a strain on businesses, the labor market, and all employees, regardless of vaccination status.

Biden’s vaccine mandate

Biden directed the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) earlier this month to issue orders requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination or require workers to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Tens of millions of private workers would be affected by the rule.

“The vast majority of the American people know we have to do these things,” Biden said last week when asked about Republican criticism of the mandate. “They’re hard but necessary. We’re going to get them done.” 

The mandate will almost certainly result in a legal battle with some state officials. One of the signatories to Thursday’s letter, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, had already filed a lawsuit against the administration earlier this week.

Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” is a six-part approach toward driving out the COVID-19 pandemic which includes, in part, a vaccine mandate for:

  • Employers with more than 100 employees;
  • Federal workers and contractors; and
  • Healthcare workers at hospitals that accept Medicare & Medicaid

Private sector employees who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine will be subjected to weekly testing.