Missouri, Kansas leaders react to President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine requirements

Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 22:22:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Kansas City metro politician have claimed government overreach following President Joe Biden's announcement that federal workers, federal government contractors and health care workers – among others – be required get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said the president's move "to dictate personal freedom and private business decisions" is an insult to American principles.

"This heavy-handed action by the federal government is unwelcome in our state and has potentially dangerous consequences for working families," Parson said in a series of tweets Thursday afternoon. "Vaccination protects us from serious illness, but the decision to get vaccinated is a private health care decision that should remain as such."

Missouri Rep. Sam Graves (R-District 6) said he opposed Biden’s vaccine mandate “for private businesses and their employees.”

“This is just the latest example of the extreme executive overreach by this Administration,” Graves said in a statement. “Quite frankly, it seems like a desperate attempt to distract from his disgraceful bungling of the withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan.”

But Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-District 5) said in a statement that he supports Biden's move.

“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the leadership of the Biden Administration, more than 175 million Americans are fully vaccinated from COVID-19," Cleaver said. "Unfortunately, misinformation and the politicization of vaccines have allowed the Delta variant to spread like wildfire across the country, causing unnecessary pain and suffering, in addition to hindering our economic recovery."

While Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's office still is reviewing the federal plan, a spokesperson said they know that vaccines are "the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19."

“Governor Kelly continues to urge Kansans to get vaccinated to protect our school children, our businesses, our loved ones, and our communities," a spokesperson told KSHB 41 News via email.

Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall (R-District 1) said in a tweet that Biden's decree "is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our entire constitutional system of limited government."

"This will likely get struck down in the courts - but is a terrifying glimpse of the new Marxist Dem Party," he tweeted.

Similarly, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R-District 1) also opposed Biden's mandate, though he said there is "no doubt" the COVID-19 vaccine has "provided the best shot at ending the pandemic." Moran himself is fully vaccinated and said in the statement released Thursday night that he will continue encouraging Kansans to get the vaccine.

"These decisions should be left to each individual, and that decision should be guided by conversations with trusted doctors and not dictated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.," Moran said "Furthermore, this government overreach comes at the expense of small business owners who are trying to strike a balance between keeping their businesses safe and open, and respecting their employees’ personal health decisions."

Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement plan will also require that employers with more than 100 staffers either require employees get vaccinated, or have employees undergo weekly virus testing. Large entertainment venues are urged to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter establishments.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.