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Mr. PFLUGER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 497, Freedom for Health Care Workers Act. I would also like to offer my condolences to my colleague on the other side of the aisle for the loss of his mother. I think that, you know, in a stark contrast of what CMS is doing to mandate this, which is the only vaccine that is mandated, what we should be doing is investigating the origins of COVID, the billions of dollars that have been spent, the countless lives that have been lost.
I am proud to serve on Energy and Commerce, to be the only rural Texan serving on that committee. Growing up in rural Texas, it gave me a strong appreciation for healthcare, for workers just like my colleague's mother, the heroes that were on the front line during the pandemic and those that have served as doctors and nurses in Texas, quite literally, saving lives every single day.
We are facing a massive shortage of healthcare workers throughout our Nation, and, unfortunately, this crisis is amplified in rural America.
Rural healthcare workers and providers are among the most negatively impacted by the President's tyrannical COVID vaccine mandate, which remains in effect for Medicare and Medicaid-certified providers.
The Biden administration should not be forcing American workers to take the vaccine or face the possibility of losing their job. Instead, they should be listening to the reasons that so many people in my district, throughout the State of Texas, and throughout the country, quite frankly, may not want to take it. That choice should not have to be made. Unfortunately, the overreach never ends.
Republicans are standing up today to free our healthcare heroes from this unconstitutional mandate. I am proud to join Representative Jeff Duncan on this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
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