MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is speaking out against the new federal vaccination mandates President Joe Biden issued Thursday.
During his address to the nation, Biden announced that all employers with 100 or more employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly. Biden also said businesses with more than 100 employees will be required provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or recover from post-vaccination side effects.
In a series of tweets, Lee criticized Biden’s address, calling it “cynical and divisive” and saying it pitted the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Lee also called the mandates a “power grab” and suggested they are unconstitutional.
In a later tweet, Lee said that vaccines are “the best tool we have to combat the pandemic” but “heavy-handed” mandates are the wrong approach.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves also spoke out against the mandates, saying that the President has “no authority” to mandate that private businesses require vaccinations.
Late Thursday evening, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also responded to the new mandates, saying that he fully supports efforts to increase vaccination rates but feels mandates on private businesses are “not the right answer.”
The Biden administration will use a new rule from the the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enact the mandates. According to the administration, the rule will carry penalties of $14,000 per violation.