DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says the president’s new Covid vaccine rules for federal workers, health care staff and employees in large businesses are “dangerous and unprecedented.”
President Biden says Americans who are vaccinated are growing “frustrated” with the 80 million who are not and the unvaccinated are fueling the current surge in Covid cases. Biden has moved to require that businesses with more than 100 employees ensure workers are fully vaccinated or tested for Covid weekly. The president’s executive order now requires all federal government employees and contractors as well as health care workers at facilities that receive federal money be vaccinated.
Reynolds, a Republican, has encouraged Iowans to get vaccinated, but she opposes these mandates. Reynolds says Iowans have the ability to make health care decisions for themselves and Biden’s plan will only “worsen the workforce shortage” as people quit or retire rather than get vaccinated.
Zach Wahls, the top Democrat in the Iowa Senate, says Iowa is in the midst of a “dangerous surge” in Covid cases because Iowa Republicans have embraced “vaccine skepticism.”
Some Republicans in Iowa’s congressional delegation have issued statements criticizing Biden’s vaccination requirements. Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s encouraging Iowans to get vaccinated, but he opposes the “heavy hand” of government threatening to fine for businesses if employees aren’t vaccinated or tested regularly. First district Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion says the president’s actions are unconstitutional. Second district Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa says she encourages adults to be vaccinated, but she’s “deeply opposed” to a federal Covid vaccine mandate. The Republican National Committee announced tonight it plans to file a lawsuit to overturn the president’s vaccine mandates.