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Florida sues Biden administration over vaccine mandates for federal contractors

Biden pushes businesses to mandate vaccines
Biden pushes businesses to mandate vaccinations for all employees 07:31

Florida is following through on Governor Ron DeSantis' threat to sue the the Biden administration over the federal order requiring the employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, arguing that the U.S. government lacks the authority to impose the order.

DeSantis, who has been fighting vaccine requirements issued by private companies, said "the federal government is exceeding their power." He has called a special session of the Florida Legislature to stop private businesses from enacting vaccine requirements, and also to allow parents to opt their children out of school mask and quarantine mandates.

"Just months ago Joe Biden was saying that it wouldn't be appropriate or lawful for the federal government to mandate these COVID shots," DeSantis said this week in a statement. "But now we have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. The federal government is exceeding their power and it is important for us to take a stand because in Florida we believe these are choices based on individual circumstances."

Florida is arguing in federal court that the statute the Biden administration is using to carry out the vaccine requirement, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, doesn't authorize a step like requiring vaccines. 

"Nothing in that statute authorizes such a radical intrusion on the personal autonomy of American workers — especially, as is the case here, when many of those workers are officials of a sovereign state," the complaint reads

The lawsuit points to the occasions this year when President Biden or White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed the belief that the federal government does not have the authority to institute a sweeping vaccine mandate. 

The president later announced a vaccine requirement for federal workers and federal contractors. Mr. Biden also announced last month the Department of Labor will establish a rule requiring vaccines or regular testing for employees at companies with at least 100 employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has yet to release that rule. 

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