“The president very much wants you and everyone else to believe that this is a fight between politicians. The reality is, this is an attack by the president on hardworking Americans and hardworking Mississippians, who he wants to choose between getting a jab in their arm and their ability to feed their families. And I just believe that’s a false choice,” Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The president does not have the authority to do this. He knows he doesn’t have the authority to do this, in my opinion, but he wants to change the political narrative away from Afghanistan and away from the other issues that are driving his poll numbers into the ground and focus on anything, particularly a political fight, other than those issues.”
Biden earlier this month announced new mandates for COVID-19 vaccination for federal workers and contractors. He also announced one for private employers. That order, which isn’t in effect yet, is being developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a spokesperson has confirmed to The Epoch Times. Officials say it will require companies to make every worker who doesn’t produce proof of vaccination get a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis before going to work.
Companies that refuse will face escalating fines.
Mississippi has one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death tolls in the country. Some 9,214 deaths among state residents as of Sept. 16 have been linked to the disease according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Reeves described himself as heartbroken over the death toll but circled back to criticizing Biden’s recent orders, wondering, “If this president has the ability to mandate vaccines, what powers do we not grant this president?”
“This should scare Democrats just as much as it scares Republicans, because the fact is, if we give unilateral authority by one individual to do anything that he wants to do, whether it’s a jab in the arm or anything else, then this country is in deep, deep trouble. And that’s not something that I’m willing to stand by and allow him to do. Obviously, we have made it very clear that we are prepared to sue once we actually see the rule.”
The orders have already been challenged in court by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who said they violate the equal protection clause.
Reeves noted that Biden over the summer directed officials to impose a fresh ban on evictions even after top advisers and the president himself acknowledged that doing so was likely illegal following a Supreme Court ruling on the matter. After the new ban was imposed, it was blocked by the nation’s top court.
Biden and administration officials have defended the vaccine mandates. They say they believe the president and federal agencies have the authority to issue the orders, pointing to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
“The law basically requires the Department of Labor to take action when it finds grave risk to workers,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week. “And certainly a pandemic that killed more than 600,000 people qualifies as a grave risk to workers.”
Jack Phillips and Nick Ciolino contributed to this report.