A major federal law enforcement union has come out against President Biden’s new vaccine mandate requiring two-thirds of all US workers in the federal and private sectors to get COVID-19 shots, calling the move “misguided.”
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, issued a statement Thursday calling the mandate unnecessary, overbearing and counterintuitive
“This executive order villainizes employees for reasonable concerns and hesitancies and interest the federal government into individual medical decisions,” Cosme said. “People should not be made to feel uncomfortable for making a reasonable medical choice.
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s action to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all federal employees is misguided. Today, 75 percent of American adults have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” Cosme added.
“We are well on our way to herd immunity based on voluntary vaccination. A mandate at this time only undermines these voluntary vaccination efforts and reduces public comfort in getting vaccinated.”
FLEOA is the United States’ largest nonpartisan, not-for-profit professional organization representing approximately 30,000 federal law enforcement officers over 65 federal agencies including Customs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
Under Biden’s mandate, all federal employees must receive a coronavirus vaccination, with few exceptions. Federal employees will not have a weekly testing option if they choose not to get vaccinated. Workers with the US Postal Service are among those exempt from the federal mandate and will be given the option to provide negative COVID-19 tests weekly.
In the private sector, businesses with more than 100 workers will be mandated by the Labor Department to require staff to get vaccinated or be tested weekly. The orders come with fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
Cosme made clear that the association has encouraged its members to “seek individual medical guidance” and in many cases, get vaccinated. He noted, however, that employees should not be penalized for “making independent medical decisions.”
“We will continue to review the legal landscape for this order and act as appropriate to support our members and voice their concerns,” he said. “We are [a] nation built on freedom. We are law enforcement officers who defend that freedom. And we deserve the freedom to make our own health decisions.”
The FLEOA joins many Republican governors and the Republican National Committee in their criticism of the mandates.
On Thursday, the RNC promised to take legal action against the Biden administration when the mandates go into effect.
“Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Like many Americans, I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate. Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden’s unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees, but when his decree goes into effect, the RNC will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties.”
Republican governors like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have also promised to fight the mandate with potential legal action.
“This is not a power that is delegated to the federal government,” Noem told Fox News’ “Hannity.” “This is a power for states to decide. In South Dakota, we’re going to be free and we’re going to make sure that we don’t overstep our authority. So we will take action. My legal team is already working, and we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate.”
Abbott called the new rule “an assault on private businesses” and vowed that the state was “already working to halt this power grab.”
It is unclear how the governors can fight back against the order, as Biden warned that if Republican governors who have opposed vaccine and mask mandates “won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my powers as president to get them out of the way.”
According to CDC data, 75.3 percent of US adults have had at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. Vaccination rates do vary among states and the national infection rate is as high as it was in late January, when few Americans were vaccinated.