More than 20 Attorneys General challenge Biden’s federal contractor vaccine mandate

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021

Attorney General Lynn Fitch and 20 Attorneys General from across the country wrote President Biden this week to challenge his Administration’s evolving mandatory vaccination requirement for federal contractors. Noting that the mandate stands on shaky legal grounds, is propped up by inconsistent federal directives, and requires compliance on an unworkable timeline in the midst of a supply-chain crisis, the Attorneys General strongly urged the President to halt implementation of the mandate.

“I have serious concerns about the President’s federal contractor vaccine mandate,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “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 September 9, through Executive Order 14042, President Biden directed federal departments and agencies to include a clause in contracts requiring all contractors and subcontractors ensure adequate COVID Safety protocols. On September 24, pursuant to the Biden Order, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance imposing a vaccination mandate that is more expansive than the President’s Executive Order, is internally inconsistent, and is at odds with actions taken elsewhere by the federal government.

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“[W]e strongly urge you to instruct the Task Force and federal agencies to halt any efforts to implement the federal contractor mandate. All citizens – including federal contractors – have the right to make their own decision about whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote the Attorneys General. “At the very least, you should provide additional guidance addressing the ambiguities and inconsistencies in the mandate, ensure that guidance is applied uniformly, and allow agencies and contractors additional time to comply.”

As various agencies have begun to issue their implementing memoranda and guidance, contractors have faced a series of conflicting directives. Instead of assistance from the Administration in making sense of the inconsistencies, contractors have faced short deadlines coupled with the threat of being blacklisted or losing contracts for non-compliance.

The letter was sent by the Attorneys General for Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.