Oct 29 (Reuters) – Eleven U.S. states with Republican governors sued the Biden administration on Friday seeking to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing it is unconstitutional and violates federal procurement law.
Saying they were necessary to fight COVID-19, President Joe Biden issued a pair of executive orders on Sept. 9 requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated.
A joint lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of Missouri by 10 states, Arkansas, Alaska, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Texas filed a separate suit on the same issue, and Florida filed one on Thursday. The lawsuits on Friday described the mandate as “sweeping in its scope” and “unconstitutional and unlawful,” citing a constitutional amendment on state powers and federal laws on government procurement.
The mandate “is an abuse of power and we won’t stand for it,” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said in a video on Twitter.
“It will only worsen the workforce shortage and supply chain issues that hinder our economic recovery and it furthers the unprecedented government intrusion into our lives,” Reynolds said.
The White House set a Dec. 8 deadline for employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated. However, it has signaled contractors have flexibility in enforcing that deadline.
U.S. courts have largely upheld vaccination requirements imposed by employers, universities, states and cities.
About 58% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and over 66% have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)