Lawmakers are continuing to target the federal employee vaccine mandate with legislation.
Another Effort to Repeal the Vaccine Mandate
He issued the following statement about why he introduced the legislation:
I have been vaccinated. I have been at the forefront of nationwide efforts to educate Americans about the safety and efficacy of our FDA-approved vaccines. I have even traveled across southern and southwestern Ohio to administer the vaccine to my constituents. Whether or not to receive a vaccine is a decision that should be solely up to a patient and their trusted doctor, and the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate violates the doctor-patient relationship. I’m proud to lead this legislation to block the mandates and will continue to speak up for a COVID-19 mitigation strategy that will keep Americans safe and respect their personal decisions without jeopardizing their livelihoods or our economy.
Other Bills Would Overturn the Vaccine Mandate
Wenstrup’s bill is hardly the first one that has been introduced to nullify the Executive Order that mandates the COVID vaccine for federal workers.
The COVID–19 Individual Liberty Act of 2021 (H.R. 5829) was introduced by Congressman William Timmons (R-SC) last week and among its provisions is a nullification of the vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors.
Exempting Some Federal Employees from the Vaccine Mandate
Another bill introduced recently takes a different approach. Rather than repealing the vaccine mandate outright, it would allow an exemption from the mandate for federal employees and contractors who provide proof of antibodies from having COVID and fully recovering.
Newhouse said in a statement about the bill:
Federal employees who have opted not to receive the vaccine because they have natural immunity developed after recovering from the virus do not deserve to be fired. President Biden’s overreaching mandate has severe ramifications for communities across the country, especially for communities like Central Washington who make up a large part of the federal workforce. Instead of forcing our federal workforce to choose between employment and vaccination, my bill provides them with an option – a permissible, science-based exception from President Biden’s recent Executive Order.
Lawmakers Tell Federal Employees to “Get Back to Work”
Legislation was also recently introduced in the House that would require fully vaccinated federal employees to return to work in their agency offices.
The Having Employees Return to Duty (HERD) Act (H.R. 5903) requires that federal employees who are in compliance with the president’s Executive Order mandating the COVID vaccine to return to providing in-person services.
The bill is sponsored by Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and has 8 other co-sponsors as of the time of this writing. It is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the Senate not long ago.
“Many in my district, especially senior citizens and those without access to the internet, have been struggling without the ability to go into social security offices for in-person services,” Jacobs said. “The vaccines are safe and effective, there is no reason for fully-vaccinated federal employees to be denying these services to constituents in need – especially when almost every other government office and small business has resumed regular in-person services.”
“The American people have had ample time to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We cannot afford to continue slow-walking our return to normalcy here in Washington while the rest of the country begins to move on. Let’s trust the science and send the federal workforce back to work,” Rep. Ralph Norman, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said.