TOPEKA (KSNT) – Nearly eight months after declaring “war” on COVID-19 after he took office, President Biden announced far-reaching new federal requirements Thursday that could force millions to get shots.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said from the State Dining Room. “And your refusal has cost all of us.”
The unvaccinated minority, he added, “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
The expansive new rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan) “strongly opposed” what he called extreme government overreach. Moran urged the White House to focus on solutions.
“I am vaccinated and I will continue to urge Kansans to get vaccinated. These decisions should be left to each individual,” Moran said in a statement.
Sen. Dr. Roger Marshall who is leading an effort to investigate China’s “role in triggering the COVID-19 pandemic,” called Biden’s plan, “Americans last.” On Twitter Marshall asks the nation’s governors to “defy this President.”
Kansas State Representative Ron Estes called Biden’s approach a “gross overreach,” and issued a statement saying that, “Individuals and parents should make the decisions regarding the medicines they receive.”
Congressman Jake LaTurner’s called the mandates a “crushing blow to Kansas small businesses.”
“Our hospitals are already stretched thin with medical professionals in rural Kansas and cannot afford to lose workers who do not wish to be vaccinated,” LaTurner said in a statement to the media.
LaTurner said he believes every American has the constitutional right to consult with their doctor and decide what’s best for them.
“Mandating over 100 million Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is both unprecedented and a complete overreach of the federal government. It’s clear that the COVID-19 vaccine saves lives, and I have and will continue to encourage Kansans to get it,” LaTurner said.
The Kansas Republican leadership called the President’s plan “tyranny,” an “unconstitutional overreach.”
“We will stand for freedom and we will protect the rights of our citizens,” the leadership said in a statement released Friday morning.