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Michigan rep. introduces bill barring federal vaccine mandate enforcement

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution photo
Jake May/The Flint Journal
Associated Press

Republican Rep. John Moolenaar said the government is overstepping its authority with the rule

A U.S. congressman representing mid-Michigan has introduced legislation to block enforcement of a Biden-administration vaccine rule.

The federal government plans to require companies with 100 or more employees to make sure their workers are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or getting tested weekly for the virus that causes it.

Republican Rep. John Moolenaar said the government is overstepping its authority with the rule, which is set to take effect in January. He’s proposed a bill that would bar federal funds from being used to enforce a vaccine mandate.

“When the federal government starts to do something and take more control of our lives, it’s very difficult for them to give up that freedom. Where will it end?” he said. “The federal government’s job is to secure people’s rights, and this really encroaches on that.”

The Biden administration has said federal regulators have an obligation to ensure workers have safe and healthy working conditions, and increasing vaccination rates would protect employees’ health.

Moolenaar also said the country’s economy is not ready for the disruption the federal vaccine rule will bring.

“When we consider that we’re having supply chain problems, labor shortages, this is something that will only further add to the problems we’re having in our economy,” he said. “My constituents … don’t want their livelihoods threatened by a federal mandate.”

Federal health officials have said the option of testing as an alternative to vaccination will let people stay on the job, even if they’re not ready to get a shot.

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