Recently introduced legislation would prohibit the federal government from compiling personal data of federal employees who seek exemptions to President Biden’s vaccine mandate for religious reasons.
Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) introduced the Preventing Abusive Government Efforts (PAGE) Act (H.R. 7036) in response to recent reports that federal agencies had begun compiling personal data of federal employees who were seeking exemptions to the vaccine mandate based on their religion.
One of the databases described in the Federal Register was for the Department of Transportation. According to the description, the database was being established “to collect information from individuals seeking medical/disability and/or religious accommodations in order to approve or deny their requests.” It will cover “current DOT employees and applicants for federal employment who have requested medical/disability and/or religious accommodations.”
It said the data the agency would be collecting included “the name of the individual seeking accommodations, nature of the accommodation sought, including but not limited for religious accommodations, how complying with such a requirement would burden religious exercise, how long the belief has been held and the reason for seeking exemption.”
The data will be considered unclassified and stored in a third-party cloud environment according to the notice.
In response to news of the agencies setting up these databases, a group of Republican lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden telling him to stop collecting the personal data of federal employees.
“Your administration’s attempt to use the power of the federal government to single out Americans who object to the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds is inexcusable and must be withdrawn,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter.
McClain’s bill is taking it a step further, however, by introducing formal legislation to ban the use of the databases. In addition to prohibiting creation and use of the databases, the PAGE Act would also require the Biden administration to destroy any database that has already been established.
As of the time of this writing, per some of the Federal Register notices, the databases are presumably are already in place. One for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, for example, said that the database “will be effective upon publication [of the Federal Register notice]” which was January 11, 2022.
“President Biden tried and failed to force vaccine mandates on the American people,” said McClain. “Now the government wants to try and track who does and does not have the vaccine. This is a prime example of gross government overreach and is a complete invasion of privacy. The PAGE Act will not only prevent the government from tracking those who got a religious exemption, but it’ll also ensure any existing database is destroyed.”