Gov.-elect Youngkin, AG-elect Miyares say Virginia to join COVID vaccine mandate challenges

Coronavirus
Glenn Youngkin, Jason Miyares, Winsome Sears

FILE-Virginia Gov.-elect, Glenn Youngkin, center, speaks with, Attorney General-elect, Jason Miyares, left, and Lt. Gov.elect, Winsome Sears, right, as they walk from a rally in Fredericksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Virginia will join other Republican-led states and business groups in challenging Biden administration mandates intended to increase the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate once GOP Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares take office. (AP Photo/Steve Helber/FILE)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WFXR) — Virginia’s incoming Republican governor and attorney general are pledging that the Commonwealth will join other Republican-led states and business groups in challenging Biden administration mandates intended to increase the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.

In a joint statement released on Friday, Jan. 7, GOP Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares vowed to join challenges to components of the vaccine mandate imposed by President Joe Biden’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

You can read the full statement released by Youngkin’s press team below:

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares today announced their intent to challenge the unconstitutional vaccine mandate imposed by President Biden’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused heartbreaking health, societal, and economic loss and suffering throughout the Commonwealth and the United States. Our children have experienced severe learning loss and developmental challenges that will last decades, strained and stressed hospital systems are suffering from an historic staffing crisis, and a crippled supply chain has driven up Virginians’ cost of living.

“Instead of supporting state and local governments’ efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods of their citizens, the Biden administration has resorted to unlawful vaccine mandates that force hardworking Virginians to walk away from their paychecks. President Biden’s CMS mandate, ignores the hospital systems’ long-established policies designed to keep staff and patients safe and threatens the tenure of essential medical personnel at a time when staffing shortages threaten the health and safety of Virginians.

“While we believe that the vaccine is a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, we strongly believe that the Federal government cannot impose its will and restrict the freedoms of Americans and that Virginia is at its best when her people are allowed to make the best decisions for their families or businesses.

“After the January 15th inauguration, the Commonwealth of Virginia will quickly move to protect Virginians’ freedoms and challenge President Biden’s unlawful CMS, OSHA, and Head Start vaccine mandates. Removing some of the staffing barriers to our hospitals, will provide much needed relief for our overworked medical professionals.”

Statement released on Jan. 7, 2022 by Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin Press Team

The announcement comes the same day the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether to allow the Biden administration to enforce a vaccine-or-testing requirement that applies to large employers and a separate vaccine mandate for most health care workers.

Miyares told WFXR News Capitol Bureau reporter Jackie DeFusco earlier this week he planned to sign onto the lawsuits, but he also acknowledged it is unclear how soon a ruling from the Supreme Court might affect those components.

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