Gov. Little joins third lawsuit challenging Biden vaccine mandates

Tuesday November 16, 2021

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today Idaho joined another lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s unprecedented government overreach and vaccine mandates.

Idaho and 11 other states are part of a Louisiana lawsuit seeking to stop Biden’s vaccine mandate on healthcare workers. The lawsuit follows a similar but separate 10-state challenge filed in Missouri. The Biden Administration proposed using the Medicare and Medicaid system to impose a vaccine on 17 million healthcare workers.

“President Biden has no legal authority to force hospitals and other healthcare facilities to require their employees to get vaccinated. His illegal attempt would intensify a problem confronting our country – we already have a short supply of healthcare workers available to handle the pandemic. As I’ve stated before, Biden’s coercive, threatening attempts to increase vaccination rates damage a country already divided. He is breeding a level of resentment and distrust of government that will take generations to heal. His actions simply are not good for our country, now or in the long term,” Governor Little said.

At Governor Little’s direction, Idaho is party to two other lawsuits challenging Biden’s mandates – one involving federal contractors and another involving private employers with 100 or more employees. Idaho’s involvement in each was facilitated by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and his office.

The states’ complaint filed today states:

“The Biden Administration is playing statutory shell games with the courts, straining to justify an unjustifiable and unprecedented attempt to federalize public health policy and diminish the sovereign States’ constitutional powers. The Administration has announced three COVID-19 vaccine mandates to—as the President himself has confirmed—increase societal vaccination rates. There’s just one problem: no statute authorizes the federal Executive to mandate vaccines to increase societal immunity. The Administration’s solution? Use statutory schemes never before interpreted to allow federal vaccine mandates to shoehorn the President’s goals into the fabric of American society. In one instance, the Administration grabbed an obscure workplace safety statute to impose a vaccine mandate on 100 million Americans. That mandate suffers from so many patent constitutional and statutory problems that the Fifth Circuit stayed it a day after it issued and reaffirmed its stay within a week. BST Holdings, L.L.C. v. OSHA, No. 21-60845 (Nov. 12, 2021). Second, the Administration tried to use the federal procurement system to impose a vaccine mandate on another fifth of the American workforce. That mandate, too, is already subject to multiple challenges. The third mandate is the one at issue here: the Administration has coopted the Medicare and Medicaid system to impose a vaccine on 17 million healthcare workers.

“But the Social Security Act focuses on patient welfare and patient access to care. By forcing a significant number of healthcare workers to take the shot(s) or exit the Medicare and Medicaid workforce, CMS’s Vaccine Mandate harms access to (and thus quality of) patient care. This ‘one-size-fits-all sledgehammer’ expressly undermines the Social Security Act’s singular focus on providing access to care. BST Holdings, No. 21-60845, slip op. at 6 (5th Cir. Nov. 12, 2021). By forcing employees to choose ‘between their job(s) and their jab(s),’ id. at 19, the Mandate completely ignores the unprecedented labor shortage prevailing in the healthcare sector and patient wellbeing in favor of the President’s ambition to increase societal vaccination rates.

“Aside from being fundamentally at odds with the Social Security Act, the Vaccine Mandate suffers from a host of fatal flaws. It exceeds CMS’s statutory authority; violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the selection and tenure of healthcare workers; is arbitrary and capricious; and violates the Spending Clause, the Anti-Commandeering doctrine, and the Tenth Amendment. Furthermore, CMS flouted the basic procedural requirements that Congress imposed on it, including the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirement, the Congressional Review Act’s publication-and-review requirements, and the Social Security Act’s consultation and regulatory-impact-analysis requirements. The Vaccine Mandate causes grave danger to the vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect—the poor, children, sick, and the elderly—by forcing the termination of millions of essential ‘healthcare heroes.’”

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