MO, KS lawmakers react to Supreme Court halting COVID-19 vaccine rule for businesses

Supreme Court
Posted at 5:06 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 20:46:32-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers from Kansas and Missouri are sharing their reactions following the Supreme Court ruling to block a vaccine mandate for large businesses.

The ruling blocks the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement of businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or tested regularly along with masking at work.

However, the court did rule that the Biden administration may proceed to implement a vaccine mandate for most health care workers.

On the Kansas side, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who challenged both mandates, said in a statement the ruling was a “mixed bag for Kansas.”

“Blocking the illegal OSHA mandate gives welcome relief to thousands of employers and employees throughout our state who now will not lose their jobs because of their healthcare decisions, but the disappointing decision to uphold for now the mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated is likely to aggravate the shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals that already is causing serious disruption to the delivery of care throughout our state,” Schmidt said.

Similarly, Sen. Roger Marshall agrees with the decision to block the mandate for businesses.

“Simply put, the Administration overstepped its authority, and I am glad the Supreme Court is holding them accountable,” Marshall said in a statement.

Sen. Jerry Moran tweeted that he joined the bipartisan Senate majority to vote and formally disapprove of the mandate in December. With Thursday’s decision coming down in his favor, Moran called it a “big win for individual liberty.”

“This mandate is a severe federal overreach, and I’m pleased #SCOTUS has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing it,” Moran tweeted.

In congruence with his Republican colleagues, Rep. Jake LaTurner tweeted that he joined his colleagues in “filing an amicus brief asking SCOTUS to block President Biden’s vaccine mandate on private businesses.”

LaTurner attributed the “unprecedented and unconstitutional” mandate being struck down as a victory for “constitutional rights.”

In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt released a statement that while the block did not accomplish everything he had hoped, he will “not give up this fight.”

“Earlier this afternoon, the United States Supreme Court halted the OSHA private employer vaccine mandate, a massive win for millions of workers and businesses across the country, including Doolittle Manufacturing here in Missouri, who would’ve had to shutter their doors if this mandate was not halted,” Schmitt said. “Missouri was the first state to file suit against the OSHA private employer mandate, and I’m proud to have delivered this critical decision for Missourians and Americans, and to hand the Biden Administration its biggest loss to date.

"While we’re disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling on our lawsuit against the health care worker vaccine mandate, that fight is far from over, and the case is still ongoing. We’re committed to ensuring that rural hospitals and nursing homes continue to stay open and provide critical care to Missourians, and we will not give up this fight.”

Sen. Josh Hawley kept his Twitter remarks brief.

“#SCOTUS decision in vaccine mandate case is a big victory for liberty, the rule of law, and the Constitution,” Hawley tweeted.

Along with previous sentiments, Rep. Vicky Hartzler tweeted she agreed that the mandate illegally overreached OSHA, so the block was a “huge win for American freedom, our Constitution, and the rule of law.”

Conversely, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was "disappointed" with Thursday's decision.

“While I am relieved the Supreme Court upheld the vaccine requirement for health care workers, I am deeply disappointed they struck down the vaccine-or-testing requirements OSHA and the Biden administration had put in place for large businesses with more than 100 employees," Cleaver said in a statement. “We know for a fact that vaccines have been proven to substantially decrease the chances of death and severe illness from COVID-19.

"We also know that vaccine requirements play an important role in increasing vaccination rates across the country. Therefore, this decision directly undermines our national effort to defeat COVID-19 and will only prolong a pandemic that has already killed nearly 850,000 Americans.”

And for Sen. Roy Blunt, he was "not very surprised." He even said he believes the Biden administration might be relieved by this decision.

"I'm pro-vaccine, but I've been anti-mandates because I think the mandate actually has had a counterproductive impact on people getting vaccines,” Blunt said in aninterview with Fox News on Thursday.

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