Rep. Stefanik: ‘Unlawful vaccine mandates are harming our workforce’

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Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who has been endorsed by GOP leaders to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, arrives for a candidates forum, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Republicans will vote Friday morning for a new chair for the House Republican Conference. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — GOP lawmakers are criticizing vaccine mandates across the country.

Members of Congress have sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh, voicing their concerns regarding mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine. The group of 23 representatives claimed that the DOL has “abused” workplace laws by “rushing to impose vaccine mandates that would exacerbate the national workforce shortage.”

The letter specifically addressed a plan released by U.S. President Joe Biden on September 9. The plan included a directive for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to quickly issue an emergency temporary standard. This would require all employers with a minimum of 100 employees to ensure full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test weekly for all staff.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who represents New York’s 21st District, addressed how to vaccine mandate could impact small businesses in the North Country.

“Joe Biden has already created a job crisis in our country, and now his authoritarian vaccine mandates are only pushing more Americans out of the workforce,” Stefanik said in a press release. “It is unbelievable that President Biden would weaponize the federal bureaucracy to crush American business, putting the burden to enforce his power grab on our small businesses. I will continue to take a stand against Biden’s authoritarian vaccine mandate on behalf of workers and job creators in the North Country.”

Stefanik also added how a hospital in the region temporarily closed its maternity ward because of staffing shortages due to the vaccine mandate. This was included in the letter to the Department of Labor.

“Following the adoption of a similar state order in New York, a hospital was forced to pause maternity services because dozens of staff members quit due to the mandate. This reality is not an isolated incident. When applied to the broader private-sector workforce, the ETS will have a devastating impact on the ability of businesses to retain workers and on the economic recovery at large,” the lawmakers wrote.

The full letter addressed to the Department of Labor can be read on Congresswoman Stefanik’s website. The letter was led by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, R-NC.

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