Kelly, who is up for reelection next year, said that she believes Thursday’s mandate unveiled by the Department of Labor wouldn’t be the “most effective” move.
“It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs,” she said in a statement online. “I will seek a resolution that continues to recognize the uniqueness of our state and builds on our on-going efforts to combat a once-in-a-century crisis,” the governor continued.
During a Kansas City-area event hosted Thursday, Kelly said she supports encouraging people to get the vaccine rather than imposing requirements. It’s not clear if she will take legal action.
Kelly’s disapproval of the mandate comes as numerous Republican governors and attorneys general said they would file lawsuits to block it.
On Friday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and 10 others filed a lawsuit against the mandate for private businesses, arguing that the federal government lacks the authority and only the states possess such powers. News website The Daily Wire also filed a lawsuit against the challenge in a federal court on Thursday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday his state would join a lawsuit filed by Alabama, Georgia, and private plaintiffs seeking to nullify the rule.
“The federal government cannot unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation,” DeSantis said. “That is exactly what they’re trying to do here.”
The Department of Labor set a Jan. 4 deadline for private businesses to comply with the mandate. If the requirement isn’t blocked by the courts, businesses could face fines of tens of thousands of dollars due to noncompliance.
In explaining the move, Biden said that he didn’t want to impose a vaccine mandate but that the requirement is the best way to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The president also dismissed concerns that the vaccine mandate would lead to mass worker layoffs and would create a significant downturn in the U.S. economy.
“There have been no ‘mass firings’ and worker shortages because of vaccination requirements,” he said. “Despite what some predicted and falsely assert, vaccination requirements have broad public support.”
Other than the mandate for private-sector workers, the administration also delayed its requirement for federal contractors—who don’t have the option to submit to weekly testing—to Jan. 4. Similarly, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it would require all healthcare workers who work at Medicaid- or Medicare-funded hospitals to get the shot by the same date.