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Florida sues Biden Administration over vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT
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Florida is suing the Biden Administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

The administration is requiring federal contractors to mandate vaccinations and ensure that workers are fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.

Speaking at the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland on Thursday, DeSantis said the lawsuit is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the mandate from being imposed.

"We've got a very big footprint in Florida of companies that do contracting work for the federal government. We've got a lot of them over on the Space Coast of Florida. Of course, we have defense contractors," DeSantis said. "There's a lot of folks that will be in the crosshairs on this."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds news conference in Lakeland

The White House said federal contractor employees may get a religious or medical exemption from the vaccine mandate, adding that companies won't have to take immediate action — including layoffs — against workers who aren't vaccinated.

"In the state of Florida, you have a right to earn a living. And it should not be denied to you based on these shots," DeSantis said. "We want to protect people who are working in the state of Florida."

Calling it "reckless leadership" by the Biden Administation, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Thursday the federal vaccinate mandate is "unlawful."

"It is a complete and gross overreach of the federal government into the personal autonomy of American workers," Moody said.

In addition to the vaccine mandate for federal contractors, President Joe Biden announced last month the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.

The mandate will impact more than 80 million workers in private sector businesses, according to the White House.

Biden argued COVID-19 is currently responsible for a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

The president claimed his plan will ensure the U.S. is using every tool to combat the coronavirus and save lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and safe and protecting the economy from lockdowns and further damage.

DeSantis on Thursday said that once the new OSHA rule is officially released, the state of Florida will take legal action against that mandate as well.

Scripps Only Content 2021