State Watch — Verizon
Kemp, other GOP governors to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandate
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors, his office announced Friday.
Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr (R) were joined on the complaint by leaders from Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. It comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit filed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday.
“In addition to being an unlawful and unconstitutional overreach, this vaccine mandate on federal contractors will only further divide Americans and hamstring our economy,” Kemp said in a statement.
The policy is scheduled to take effect Dec. 8, and will require all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, without a testing option.
The plaintiffs are asking the court for an injunction blocking the administration and federal agencies from enforcing the mandate on any contractor based in their respective states.
Both Kemp and Carr face reelection next year, and Kemp is likely to face a Trump-backed challenger after he ran afoul of the former president by certifying the 2020 election results.
“We will challenge this heavy-handed directive that not only serves as a clear violation of law but also places immense burden on our state,” Carr said in a statement.
Shortly after Biden announced the mandate in September, Kemp said he intended to sue to stop it.
Health experts have praised mandates as an effective way to get people vaccinated, and the White House has fully leaned into them as a way to turn the tide of the pandemic, after initially steering clear of federal intervention.
On Wednesday, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said the purpose of the mandates isn’t to punish people, and noted the deadlines for federal employees and contractors “are not cliffs.”
Zients said federal employers and contractors will be expected to educate, counsel and accommodate their unvaccinated workers to persuade them to receive the shot before terminating them.