INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana politicians are reacting to President Joe Biden's newest plan to combat COVID, which includes a rule being developed by The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a negative test result.
Biden has also signed executive orders to require all federal workers and contractors that do business with government to be vaccinated.
Governor Eric Holcomb says the vaccine is the tool that will end the pandemic, but strongly believes it's not the state or federal government’s role to issue a vaccine mandate upon citizens and private businesses.
"The announcement from President Biden is a bridge too far. Private businesses should be able to look at their own mission, their staff and their goals and make the decision best for them that will keep their doors open," Holcomb said in a statement.
Attorney General Todd Rokita says he will "be prepared to file suit if Biden seeks illegal actions restricting Hoosiers' liberties.”
“My team and I, along with other like-minded attorneys general, are reviewing all legal action on how to stand against these authoritarian actions by the Biden administration," Rokita said.
Biden's decision to demand American workers get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs is what one would expect of dictators in a banana republic. In IN we do not rule by fiat, and I will not allow the president to destroy our guaranteed freedoms and our economy at the same time.— Todd Rokita (@AGToddRokita) September 9, 2021
Tim Lanane, a Democratic state senator, called Holcomb's opposition to the mandate "extremely irresponsible."
"President Biden correctly recognizes that the science and the data tell us that the unvaccinated population is allowing the virus to spread and mutate at an unacceptable rate. It is well established that vaccines can be required in the United States, as every student attending a public school knows," Lanane said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Governor Holcomb is choosing to put the interests of the far-right anti-science wing of his party above the health of Hoosiers, especially children under 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated."
“Hoosiers have grown tired of a partisan, vocal minority holding our families back from returning to a form of normalcy not seen in almost two years. Now is the moment to stop checking partisan boxes, and it’s up to Indiana’s CEO - Eric Holcomb - to do his job,” said Lauren Ganapini, executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party. “President Biden provided a blueprint once again to help Indiana put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. If Governor Holcomb refuses to show leadership on the pandemic, he’ll show he cares more about the Indiana Republicans’ extreme partisanship and future ambitions than saving lives.”
Governor Holcomb's full statement is below.
“I believe the vaccine is the number one tool that will protect us and our loved ones against COVID-19. It is the tool that will end the pandemic. However, I strongly believe it’s not the state or federal government’s role to issue a vaccine mandate upon citizens and private businesses. This is the approach our administration has taken all along. The announcement from President Biden is a bridge too far. Private businesses should be able to look at their own mission, their staff and their goals and make the decision best for them that will keep their doors open.
I believe it is fundamentally a citizen’s right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine. While I wish everyone would get the vaccine, we are a country built on this exact type of freedom.”
Other Republican lawmakers are also criticizing Biden's plan.
"Joe Biden's authoritarian overreach is an admission of his own failures. Biden and his handlers inherited a robust economic recovery and a stellar vaccine rollout, so much so that President Biden even declared "independence" from COVID-19 just two months ago. Now he's gone from "shutting down the virus" to threatening to shut down businesses. He's gone from saying vaccines shouldn't be mandated to threatening to get elected officials who don't abide by his authoritarian power grab "out of the way." Vaccines are safe, effective, and should be taken by everyone who is eligible, but mandating the vaccines and threatening businesses and elected officials if they don't comply with unconstitutional orders is not the way to unite this country and put COVID in the rear view mirror. Joe Biden has failed fundamental leadership tests at every turn. Americans deserve better."
President Biden is reeling from his failures in Afghanistan, the border, and our economic recovery by desperately overstepping his authority with vaccine mandates for private businesses that violate the individual liberty this country was built on.— Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun) September 9, 2021
I received the COVID vaccine and I encourage Hoosiers to do the same, but the President has no right to force private employers to intervene in their employees’ personal health decisions.— Senator Todd Young (@SenToddYoung) September 10, 2021
Today’s decision by President Biden to mandate vaccinations for roughly 100 million Americans is an overreach of federal power and undermines confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.— Larry Bucshon, MD (@RepLarryBucshon) September 9, 2021