Sen. Ron Johnson: Biden is 'trampling civil liberties' with new vaccine mandates
The senator also said he found Biden's announcement to be "a level of coercion that I find highly disturbing."
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Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) reacted to President Biden's new COVID-19 vaccine requirements that were released on Thursday, calling them a "trampling of civil liberties."
The new mandate will use the Department of Labor to require all employers with over 100 workers to have them vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, which affects about 80 million Americans, Biden said in his address to the nation on Thursday. Those employers will also be required to provide paid time off to get vaccinated.
Biden signed executive orders to require all executive branch employees and federal government contractors to get vaccinated, and they do not have an option to take a COVID-19 test, instead.
Johnson responded to these new mandates in a statement, saying, "The Biden administration's decision to mandate vaccines for working Americans, without recognizing natural immunity and making exceptions for it, is an outrageous trampling of civil liberties. Rather than address legitimate concerns and answer basic questions regarding vaccine safety, President Biden and his administration have chosen coercion over transparency."
The senator mentioned how Americans have contacted him, worried about the coercion and retaliation they will experience if they do not get vaccinated. He added that many of these people are first responders and health care professionals already concerned about worker shortages in their industries, and they fear mandates will make matters worse.
"Today's announcement by President Biden is a level of coercion that I find highly disturbing," Johnson explained. "His mandate for all federal employees, federal contractors and private sector employees to get vaccinated is a dangerous precedent for what a U.S. president can unilaterally impose on the American public.
"This administration completely ignores recent studies about those previously infected and refuses to allow an exception for those with natural immunity. It also ignores the importance of early treatments in the fight against COVID-19."
Johnson also pointed out how, when Biden was president-elect, he said he "wouldn't demand" vaccines to be mandatory. The senator added that in July, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had said mandating vaccines was not a role of the federal government.
"Biden owes the American people full transparency on what led to this reversal," Johnson said. "I will continue to support and fight for those who believe in individual freedom, health autonomy and privacy, and oppose vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. We've given up enough freedom during this pandemic. It's time for Americans to reclaim their freedom."
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