MORGANTOWN – State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Thursday signed onto a 24-state letter calling on President Biden to rethink his national vaccine mandate.
“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” the seven-page letter says. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds—it will simply drive further skepticism.”
Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write a rule requiring employers with at least 100 workers to force employees to get vaccinated or be tested – negative – weekly or lose their jobs.
The letter lists a variety of reasons that they believe his mandate is wrong, then concludes: “We thus urge you to reconsider your unlawful and harmful plan and allow people to make their own decisions.” If he doesn’t change course, they will explore “every available legal option.”
The attorney acknowledge that vaccines have protected millions and more could benefit. But they argue his plan will sow more division and distrust.
They say the plan will drive some people from the workforce and note that the plan is already backfiring among some health care workers, including the New York hospital that is pausing maternity services because six nurses quit and seven more won’t get vaccinated.
“Your vaccination mandate represents not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans,” they say.
His order sends mixed signals, they say, because he says on the one hand the vaccinated are well protected but on the other hand they need protection from the unvaccinated. And it’s a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to account for how companies operate or where people work.
The plan is illegal, they say, because Biden is using the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which permits emergency temporary standards only when “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.”
Among other problems with that approach, they say, it’s using OSHA to protect people from a virus circulating in general society, not exclusively the workplace. And the already vaccinated are not in grave danger, according to his own statements.
Several pages are devoted to lawyerly arguments about legal precedents and their application. Returning to more general language, it says,” Millions of Americans are threatened with losing their jobs and the benefits that come with them.” Some may lose their homes and have to go on public support.
“Worse still, if your expansive reading of the law succeeds, the American people can expect further abuses, as it is hard to imagine any requirement the law will not allow.”
Also signing on to the letter with Morrisey are the attorneys general from neighboring Ohio and Kentucky.