Today, U.S. Representative Tim Burchett introduced the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act. Reps. Clay Higgins (LA-03), Brian Mast (FL-18), Mark E. Green, M.D. (TN-07), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Barry Moore (AL-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Michael Guest (MS-03), Randy Weber (TX-14), Ralph Norman (SC-05), and Ben Cline (VA-06) are original cosponsors of Rep. Burchett's legislation.
Rep. Burchett's legislation would protect any individual who was deemed as essential during the COVID-19 pandemic from termination under President Biden's vaccine mandate. This includes Americans employed by the federal government, private entities that receive federal funds, and public entities that received funding from any of the six coronavirus response bills passed by Congress. It also would exempt public and private federal contractors from the mandate.
"Federal bureaucrats want to punish any American who disobeys Big Brother Biden's vaccine mandate," Rep. Burchett said. "Individuals must decide for themselves on taking the coronavirus vaccine without government threats to their livelihoods if they do not get the shot. Biden's vaccine mandate will make our country's labor shortages worse, especially in essential services like public safety and health care."
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced new vaccination rules for employers with 100 or more employees. Original cosponsors of Rep. Burchett's legislation released the following statements after the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act was introduced.
"For eighteen months, essential workers literally put their lives on the line to keep the shelves stocked and took care of the sick. Now, Joe Biden is repaying them by threatening to take away their jobs," Rep. Mast said. "That's unacceptable. House Republicans won't stand by and let hundreds of thousands of workers be victimized by Joe Biden's big government mandate."
"Our essential workers have put their lives on the line to save the lives of so many who have been impacted by COVID-19. They are heroes and it is unconscionable that the Biden Administration's federal vaccine mandate is forcing our heroes out of their livelihoods, in the midst of an unprecedented supply chain crisis no less. It's high time we follow the science which shows that natural immunity is just as good as the vaccine. I stand proudly in support of this legislation -- our essential workers deserve our support, not an unconstitutional pink slip from Biden," Rep. Green said.
"No one should have to choose between their job and getting their COVID-19 vaccine, especially essential workers like law enforcement and those in health care who have seen us through this pandemic. President Biden's unconstitutional vaccine mandate will put essential workers that we need on hospital floors and in the line of duty, on the sidelines instead. I will continue to encourage folks to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as I believe it is the best defense against this virus, but I will never support government COVID-19 vaccine mandates," Rep. Hinson said.
"As the wife of a first responder, I know how important these heroes are to our communities. At the start of the pandemic, they raced toward danger, but since have been vilified for exercising their constitutional rights to medical freedom. Not only is forcing vaccinations on them wrong, it flies in the face of the hard work they do on our behalf everyday. I'm pleased to join Rep. Burchett and dozens of my colleagues in this effort to ensure we don't fire our heroes," Rep. Cammack said.
"It's disgraceful that the essential workers hailed as heroes in the early days of the pandemic are now being threatened with termination because of vaccine mandates. Not only are these mandates unconstitutional, but it's foolish and counterproductive to handicap our workforce while the Biden supply chain and economic crises rage. Congress must step up to protect the Americans who have worked so hard to keep our economy and our nation afloat during the pandemic." Rep. Moore said.
"Americans should choose whether to be vaccinated, not forced. As a doctor, I decided to be fully vaccinated and gave COVID-19 vaccines to those in my district who chose to get them," Rep. Miller-Meeks said. "The Administration's mandates are only making the current labor shortage worse. Our essential workers have been working overtime for over a year and a half to keep the rest of us safe and healthy. They should not be punished for something that should be a personal choice."
"Overreaching vaccine mandates are only worsening our country's labor shortages in essential services, like healthcare and public safety. This bill will protect our essential workers' freedom to make their own decision without facing termination and harm to their career. The choice to get the vaccine should be up to the individual, not the federal government." Rep. Tiffany said.
"After diligently working through one of the worst pandemics this country has seen, this administration is threatening the jobs of those front-line workers who saved hundreds of thousands of American lives," Rep. Guest said. "Our healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, and other first responders have freely given their time and wellbeing to keep our country healthy and safe over the last 18 months. They have earned the right to decide for themselves whether to receive the vaccine, and we must fight against this Administration to defend that right."
"The federal government should not be mandating vaccines on American citizens, and threatening the jobs of folks who don't comply is simply wrong," Rep. Cline said. "I'm proud to join Congressman Burchett in introducing this legislation to protect the rights of our Nation's essential workers, including first responders, truck drivers, grocery store employees and more, who have been critical in keeping the United States running during the pandemic."
Last week, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn led 11 of her colleagues in introducing this same legislation in the United States Senate.
"Our essential workers are true heroes," Sen. Blackburn said. "For over 18 months, essential workers showed up to serve and protect their communities. Businesses across the country are desperate for workers and we are in the midst of a supply chain crisis. There are more than 10.4 million open jobs across the country, and now President Biden wants to fire even more workers. Getting vaccinated is a choice that should be made between a patient and their doctor. No one should be forced by Joe Biden to be fired or get jabbed. The Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act is critical to protect our essential workers. Thank you Representative Tim Burchett for bringing my fight for America's essential workers to the House of Representatives."
The Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act is endorsed by the following organizations and governments: Owner--Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA); National Association of Small Trucking Companies; Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; Heritage Foundation; FreedomWorks; American Principles Project; National Border Patrol Council; National Sheriffs' Association; Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President; Covington, Tennessee; Knox County Tennessee; Tennessee Chamber of Commerce; Tennessee Ambulance Service Association; and Franklin County Tennessee.