TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody confirmed Thursday their plans to sue the Biden Administration over a vaccination mandate for large companies.
The new requirement, which was previewed by President Joe Biden in September, will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses. Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.
DeSantis and Moody both expressed their disapproval of the mandate at separate press conferences.
“In the history of our nation, this is unprecedented, breathtaking, and authoritarian,” said Moody. “We must take this action to protect Florida, its businesses, our workers from the heavy-handed, short-sighted, and unlawful edicts that are emanating from President Biden and his handlers.”
The attorney general criticized the fact that OSHA drafted the new rule under an emergency authority which is meant to protect workers from an imminent health hazard.
“They are using OSHA and an emergency rule given to OSHA to enact widespread healthcare policy on American workers,” she said. “OSHA was never given the authority by Congress to be used to enact a general healthcare policy like this on American workers.”
DeSantis said Florida will be joining several other states, such as Alabama and Georgia, and private plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“People should be able to make these decisions. I don’t think people want this decision yanked away from them, I don’t think they want to allow a precedent where the federal government can come in and just force you to do what it wants you to do,” the governor said. “I just think people are so sick of constantly being bossed around, restricted, mandated, all these different things. We’ve had enough of it and we want people to be able to make their own decisions.”
The two Florida officials will also be joined by 42 Senate Republicans who plan to fight the president’s vaccine mandate. They will use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which can overturn certain federal regulations, to challenge Biden’s new order.
Republicans supporting the challenge include Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.).
“(The lawsuit) is not anti-vaccine, this is pro-freedom, pro-autonomy of an American worker,” Moody said.