Experts in public well being legislation agree that Mr. Biden is on strong authorized footing, as a result of his actions are grounded in federal office security legal guidelines. They say Republican governors who insist that vaccine mandates are an intrusion on private liberty want a refresher on their very own state insurance policies.
“That is pure hypocrisy,” Lawrence O. Gostin, a public well being legislation professional at Georgetown University, mentioned of Mr. Reeves’s remarks. “Even religious exemptions are swept away in the state of Mississippi, so how can he say that an order that a president makes to keep workers safe, with authorization by Congress, is an overreach or in any way unconstitutional?”
A spokeswoman for Mr. Reeves, Bailey Martin, rejected Mr. Gostin’s assertion. “The only people being hypocritical are President Biden and his administration, who for months have said they would not mandate the vaccine,” she mentioned in an electronic mail, including that Mr. Reeves would use “every tool at his disposal” to dam the mandates.
Republican suspicion of vaccines was constructing earlier than the pandemic; when Donald J. Trump was working for president in 2016, he rejected established science by raising the debunked claims that vaccines cause autism. Now, a number of the governors argue that given the nation’s outsize divisions, and widespread suspicion of Washington, federal intervention could be counterproductive. It could be finest, they are saying, to let state officers proceed making the case that the vaccines are protected and efficient, and to permit folks to make choices themselves.
“I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Republican of Arkansas, mentioned Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” School mandates, he mentioned, “have always come at the state level, never at the national level. And so this is an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority that really disrupts and divides the country.”
Dr. Jha mentioned Mr. Biden had in truth finished Republicans a favor.
“What the president does is he creates political cover for Republican leaders, who will scream loudly because it’s politically expedient,” he mentioned. “But I think many of them are actually feeling relieved, because now they don’t have to do the hard work of convincing their constituents.”
Indeed, when the extremely infectious Delta variant started ripping via their communities and overwhelming their hospitals, many elected Republicans — notably Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority chief — began pleading with folks to get vaccinated. Most of the Republican governors criticizing Mr. Biden have mentioned a lot the identical.