By Christian Wade | The Center Square
New Hampshire has joined nine other Republican-led states in a federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Missouri, asks a judge to block Biden’s requirement that federal employees and contractors be vaccinated, arguing that the mandate is an overreach of federal power that violates federal procurement law.
“President Biden has arrogated to the Executive Branch the unilateral power to mandate that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated,” the 44-page complaint filed by the nine GOP-led states reads. “This power grab is sweeping in its scope.”
New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella issued a statement saying the COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective” and people should be encouraged to get vaccinated but said the benefits “do not justify violating the law.”
“This lawsuit is being filed to protect the State of New Hampshire from the federal government’s attempt to impose illegal mandates,” Formella said.
The lawsuit is one of several legal challenges seeking to block Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, which goes into effect on Dec. 8. At least 18 states have filed three lawsuits.
Biden’s plan also calls for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a rule that would mandate vaccines for all employees of private businesses with 100 or more employees. Several states have also vowed to fight that mandate.
Like many states, New Hampshire has been embroiled in a debate over requiring vaccines for public and private sector workers in an effort to reach those who haven’t been jabbed.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has been fighting with GOP lawmakers over federal funding for vaccines against the backdrop of anti-vaccine protests as the state tries to revive lagging vaccination rates.
The Republican-controlled Executive Council recently voted along party lines to reject two contracts totaling $27 million in federal funds to help the state expand vaccinations.
The council’s rejection of the money made New Hampshire the only state in the country to turn down federal vaccine funds.
Democrats have pointed fingers at Sununu for sending mixed messages about the COVID-19 vaccines by vowing to challenge Biden’s federal vaccine mandates even as he pushed for approval of the federal funding to promote vaccinations.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, said he is working on legislation to block state or local governments from enforcing Biden’s mandate in the state if the new rules go into effect.