Gov. Greg Abbott hints at legal action against Biden’s vaccination plan
Hinting at a possible legal action against the Biden administration, Gov. Greg Abbott criticized White House plans to impose vaccination warrants on employers as “an assault on private companies.”
“Texas is already working to end this takeover,” Abbott said said Thursday evening on Twitter.
Other Republicans have also urged Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to press charges to block the White House mandate as unconstitutional.
President Joe Biden, responding to a nationwide increase in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, announced Thursday that companies with 100 or more employees will have to demand that workers be vaccinated. Employees who refuse the vaccine will need to be tested at least once a week for COVID-19.
The debate over how best to respond to a resurgent pandemic has a strong partisan advantage, as demonstrated by the split between the Democratic president and the Republican governor of Texas.
Abbott has used his emergency powers, granted under his declaration of pandemic disaster, to ban vaccination warrants by state agencies and local authorities, repeatedly claiming that receiving an inoculation of COVID- 19 is still a volunteer in Texas.
“No government entity can compel an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said in a statement. radical executive decree published July 29. The same decree also prohibited mask warrants by cities, counties, school districts or public health officials.
Abbott also added vaccine mandates to the agenda for the third special session of the Legislature in the year that begins Sept. 20, asking lawmakers to consider whether state and local governments can require COVID-19 vaccinations, “and if so, what exemptions should apply.”
In June, the governor signed a law prohibiting Texas businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination.
Speaking from the White House, Biden said the vaccination mandate for businesses – currently drafted as an emergency rule by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration – was part of a six-fold plan points to increase vaccinations among the nearly 80 million Americans who have yet to get the hang of it.
Biden blamed a “distinct minority of elected officials (who) keep us from turning the page.”
Although the president has not named those officials, he has criticized Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in recent weeks for banning masks and vaccines in their states.
“These pandemic policies, as I call them, are making people sick, causing the death of unvaccinated people,” Biden said Thursday.
The Texas Democratic Party praised Biden for thwarting Abbott’s “horseman” approach to the burgeoning pandemic.
“This is a common sense policy that will go a long way in ensuring the safety of workers and communities in Texas and will enable us to overcome this pandemic,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the state’s Democratic Party. “After 18 months, Greg Abbott still refuses to take the pandemic seriously and still puts Texans at risk.”
But the nine-member Texas Freedom Caucus, made up of some of Texas House’s most conservative Republicans, sent a letter Thursday urging Paxton to press charges to block the Biden plan, which also included mandatory vaccinations for employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.
“This order is unconstitutional on the face of it, and because of it there is no doubt that our Founding Fathers now view our government with great sadness and disappointment,” caucus chairman Rep. Mayes Middleton told Paxton, R-Wallisville. .
“For these reasons, we urge you to immediately fight these unconstitutional and anti-American orders with all the strength of the Attorney General’s office in bringing a lawsuit against the Biden administration on behalf of the people of Texas,” Middleton wrote.
Paxton has vigorously defended Abbott’s pandemic-related executive orders and asked the Texas Supreme Court to overturn mask warrants passed by several school districts, cities and counties. He also sued the San Antonio school district last month for a vaccine tenure for employees.
More than 58,300 Texans have died from the coronavirus, and Texas is in the midst of a spike in cases that began in mid-July as the highly contagious delta variant spread rapidly around the world.
The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths in the past eight weeks have been among those who have not been vaccinated, and state and federal health officials say COVID-19 vaccines offer the best protection against serious illnesses due to the delta variant and other emerging mutations of the coronavirus. .
Nearly 49% of Texans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 58% having received at least one dose, according to federal health officials. Thirty-one states have higher vaccination rates.