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Top Idaho Republicans Threaten Lawsuit Against President Biden Over Vaccine Mandate

Darin Oswald
Idaho Statesman

Gov. Brad Little and three of the state’s top Republican officials are threatening to sue the federal government over President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large, private employers.

Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder and House Speaker Scott Bedke sent a letter to Biden Friday outlining their legal threats.

“While we fully welcome creative and effective means to end this terrible pandemic, there appears to be no legal basis for the U.S. Department of Labor to issue an ETS of this nature,” the four men wrote.

Biden recently directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require companies employing more than 100 workers enforce a vaccine mandate or have employees tested weekly for the coronavirus. The Associated Press reports it would cover 80 million employees, or nearly two-thirds of the private workforce.

The letter said the Department of Labor, which houses OSHA, has no authority to enforce or regulate vaccine mandates and neither does Congress.

“If you choose to continue to move forward in this direction, the State of Idaho will have no choice but to take the necessary legal actions to uphold its sovereignty, check the overreach of power by federal bureaucracy, and uphold the system of checks and balances our Constitution guarantees.”

Idaho has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country. Just 50.6% of people eligible are fully vaccinated, according to the state, compared to 63.5% of Americans. Health officials this week authorized crisis standards of care statewide.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!