Attorney General Rokita calls out Pres. Biden over vaccine mandate, discusses changes to election and other policies

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FILE – In this Sept. 16, 2020 file photo, Republican attorney general candidate Todd Rokita speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

INDIANAPOLIS/ TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV/AP) — Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita called on Pres. Joe Biden Thursday to reconsider and reverse his plan to implement a vaccine mandate amongst private-sector companies.

“This gross example of federal bureaucratic overreach has nothing to do with whether it’s a good idea to get vaccinated,” Rokita said Thursday in a news release. “But it has everything to do with the Biden administration’s total disrespect for individual liberties and the prerogative of states to govern their own affairs.”

In a multistate letter to Biden, Rokita, along with 23 other attorneys general, stated the Biden administration’s “disastrous and counterproductive” plan amounts to an illegal use of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

On Sept. 9, President Biden announced he would impose the mandate via an emergency temporary standard issued by the U.S. Department of Labor under OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be charged with enforcing the mandate.

“If the president does not reverse course, he’s going to face lawsuits,” Rokita said.

Rokita is arguing that allowing the U.S. Department of Labor to mandate vaccines alters the constitutional balance of power, which gives states primary authority over such matters.

“States have taken varying approaches to dealing with the virus,” the letter states, “and, whether you like it or not, that is how our constitutional structure is arranged.”

The attorneys general also argued that the way Biden went about announcing the plan was also flawed.

“From a policy perspective,” the letter states, “this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds — it will simply drive further skepticism.”

The group is arguing that avid proponents of the vaccine are still troubled by the Biden administration’s actions.

“The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment,” the letter states. “But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement.”

Two dozen Republican attorneys general joined Rokita Thursday in threatening the White House with impending legal action if the proposed vaccine requirement for as many as 100 million Americans goes into effect.

“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” the prosecutors, led by Attorney General Alan Wilson of South Carolina, wrote in a letter sent to President Joe Biden. “If your Administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law.”

The letter is the latest GOP opposition to sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for private-sector employees, health care workers and federal contractors announced by Biden earlier this month. The requirement, to be enacted through a rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is part of an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.

The OSHA rule, which covers nearly two-thirds of the private sector workforce, would last six months, after which it must be replaced by a permanent measure. Employers that don’t comply could face penalties of up to $13,600 per violation. (AP)

Awaiting approval from the Senate is a bill aiming to change voting procedures.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would include states being required to notify the public when changing voting practices and would authorize the Department of Justice to require states or political subdivisions to provide certain documents or answer questions for enforcing voting rights.

However, Rokita says Indiana already has effective election laws.

“Why would I want to throw the integrity away when voter confidence is at such a low after the last election? We need to do things that are going to encourage people to vote,” He said.

For more on A.G. Rokita’s reaction on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, click the video below.

The U.S. court of Appeals recently granted A.G. Rokita stay on all points including, only physicians may perform chemical abortions, that only hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers may provide second trimester abortions, patients receive in person counseling before undergoing abortions, patients receive in person physical examinations before undergoing abortions and that medical staff provide abortion services in person rather than via telemedicine.

Click on the video below to hear Rokita’s opinion the recent ruling.

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