WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act to save essential workers from being fired due to President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate.
President Biden should be doing everything possible to encourage Americans to show up to work. Instead, Biden’s plan is to implement a vaccine mandate that could force countless Americans to be fired. In a recent survey by the Tennessee Chamber, 76% of Tennessee businesses opposed the federal government dictating vaccination protocols to businesses.
Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tommy Tuberville (R- Ala.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) joined Senator Blackburn in introducing the legislation.
“Our essential workers are true heroes,” said Senator Blackburn. “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.”
“Essential workers have honorably served in hospitals, public safety, schools and more throughout the pandemic, but now their livelihoods are threatened because of their vaccination status,” Senator Inhofe said. “I am proud to cosponsor the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act so that hardworking men and women can continue serving in Oklahoma and around the nation without the fear of being fired because of the Biden administration’s heavy-handed, out-of-touch national mandate. The decision to get the vaccine should be made individually – not mandated by the federal government.”
“From the earliest days of the pandemic, our frontline workers and first responders put themselves in harm’s way to keep food on our tables and care for the sick in our communities. We should be celebrating their heroism, not punishing them for exercising their individual health freedoms. I’m proud to join Senator Blackburn in defending their rights and fighting the Biden administration’s mandate,” said Senator Lummis.
“The COVID-19 vaccine mandate being forced upon America’s workers is yet another example of the Biden Administration’s government overreach,” said Senator Hagerty. “We should be protecting our frontline essential workers who served courageously—despite the hardships and health risks—during the COVID-19 pandemic, not issuing unlawful federal mandates that threaten their jobs.”
“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice that should not be made by the federal government, and no one’s job should be dependent upon a vaccine mandate - especially those essential workers who kept our country going during the worst of the pandemic and government-imposed shutdowns,” said Senator Braun.
“When the pandemic ground our country to a halt, our essential workers stayed on the job protecting our communities, transporting goods, stocking shelves, and saving lives. Threatening their job is no way to thank them. Our essential workers, like all Americans, should be free to make the health decision that works for them without the risk of losing employment,” said Senator Tuberville.
“Well before President Biden’s ill-advised and divisive vaccine mandate, I had been hearing from doctors, nurses, first responders, and others facing the life-altering decision of having to choose between losing their job or being coerced into taking a vaccine. We are already suffering severe worker shortages throughout our economy, especially in health care. Vaccine mandates will increase these shortages and degrade our health care system. I support any effort, and am happy to co-sponsor Sen. Blackburn’s Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act, to mitigate the very real harms these mandates are causing and will continue to cause. No one should be pressured, coerced, or fear reprisal for refusing treatment, especially essential workers,” said Senator Johnson.
The Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act Has Been Endorsed By Numerous Groups including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Border Patrol Council, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association and National Association of Small Trucking Companies.
“OOIDA thanks Senator Blackburn for introducing legislation that will ensure vaccination remains a personal decision for truckers. Throughout the pandemic, we have provided our members with the most up-to-date information on vaccines but have always maintained that vaccination is a personal choice just like any health decision. Trucking is already one of the most-regulated professions in the country, and the ongoing supply chain crisis has exposed the unpaid wait times and other difficult working conditions drivers are often forced to endure. These are just a couple of the reasons the industry has long suffered from an excessively high driver turnover problem. Congress must ensure that the industry can better attract and retain drivers who have always been critical in keeping the supply chain moving. This legislation will help accomplish that,” said President and CEO of Owner–Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Todd Spencer.
“The National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) strongly supports the Keeping our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act. Thank you very much for standing up to protect our truckers and other essential workers from heavy-handed federal mandates,” said David Owen, President of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.
“Since the pandemic began, our federal law enforcement officers and other front line workers have been doing the seemingly impossible - combating an invisible enemy with little to no guidance. While most Americans were told to stay home, these workers were deemed essential to keeping our national security, health, and commerce working. Now, due to a vaccine mandate that completely disregards this past service, many of these essential workers are facing termination for failure to comply, in some cases despite health concerns or on advice from their doctors. This is wrong. We trusted these essential workers to make critical decisions to protect their communities during the pandemic response. We should trust them to make their own medical decisions now. This is why we are proud to support Sen Blackburn's legislation, the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act, which would protect every essential worker from being terminated for not complying with the vaccine mandate. At a time when our nation needs its law enforcement officers, health care workers, teachers, and other first responders due to staffing shortages and ongoing national emergencies, terminating these dedicated employees doesn't build America back better. It will make our nation worse off,” said Larry Cosme, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association National President.
“Essential workers have been often-unsung heroes, working tirelessly in the areas of law enforcement, fire, EMS, nursing, teaching, and many more. Their efforts need to be recognized and appreciated, not penalized. We support Senator Blackburn’s legislation, which protects these essential workers from losing their livelihood over the new vaccination requirements. We stand with these hard-working Americans and their personal decisions regarding their own health,” said the National Sheriffs’ Association.
“It's beyond shameful that we are further attacking the only profession that stands between good and evil in every American city. We should be talking about hazard pay for every essential worker, not no pay. The Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act will ensure our police officers are able to do their job to serve and protect their communities,” said John Catanzara, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President.
“Biden is now abandoning your safety and financial security by taking away freedoms we hold dear with his Covid vaccine mandate. His mandate will cost many experienced first responders their jobs. These are people the American public rely upon daily and can not afford to lose. While both Senator Blackburn and the National Border Patrol Council encourage all first responders to get vaccinated, we recognize the importance of allowing individuals and their doctors the freedom to be in charge of their own health by determining what goes into their bodies. We believe in freedom, not political stunts meant to appease a far left base,” said National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd. “Joe Biden is failing you and this entire nation in all the important metrics. This is why the National Border Patrol Council stands with Senator Marsha Blackburn by supporting her bill to make sure the American public has enough first responders available for the safety and security they deserve.”
“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice, it is not a decision that the federal government should be making. My number one priority is to keep the citizens of Franklin County safe — which can only happen if we have officers on the streets. This legislation will protect essential workers, including officers, from federal overreach,” said Sheriff Tim Fuller, Franklin County Tennessee.
"Emergency Medical Services in Tennessee are currently suffering from critical shortages in the workforce. To the point of EMS stations having to be closed. While our association remains proponents of the Covid-19 vaccine, we oppose any state or federal mandate on this procedure. A vaccine mandate would ultimately lead to further depletion of an already strained essential workforce. A workforce that provides life saving pre-hospital emergency medical care to the residents and visitors of Tennessee,” said Rick Valentine, President of the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association.
“President Biden's recent actions establishing significant vaccination verification and testing mandates for employers is not the right solution. In fact, over 76% of businesses, in a recent survey by the Tennessee Chamber, opposed the federal government dictating vaccination protocols to businesses,” said Bradley Jackson, President & CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce. “Our country is in a severe workforce shortage crisis and these actions only stand to exacerbate the difficult staffing conditions employers find themselves in. It has also placed our state and local officials in very difficult position. This type of sweeping government mandate enforced through significant occupational safety requirements challenge our economic competitiveness and is not the right thing to impose on private businesses at this time.”
"Personal decisions about your own health should always stay between you and your doctor, not some faraway politician you've never even met,” said Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County Tennessee.
“I’m concerned not only about the vaccine mandate itself but also the potential negative impact it could have on our workforce. We are already struggling with an overall worker shortage, and this mandate will further exacerbate that. Employees shouldn’t be forced to lose their jobs over a decision they make in regards to their own personal health,” said Justin Hanson, Mayor of Covington, Tennessee.
“Freedom means trusting the American people and equipping them with information to assess risks and make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” said Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James. “Instead of presenting a coherent strategy, including metrics that define the end of the pandemic, President Biden introduced counterproductive and divisive rhetoric and policies based on fear and control.”
“The decision to take the COVID-19 vaccine belongs solely with the individual, not the federal government. President Biden’s move to strip the freedom to make personal medical decisions from millions of Americans is just the latest example of gross executive overreach. Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act would protect the very people that kept America moving during the height of the pandemic from these onerous and invasive vaccine requirements,” said Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks.
"While the last 18 months have brought much suffering and hardship to our country, it has also been inspiring to see so many Americans -- especially doctors, nurses, first responders and other frontline workers -- selflessly serve their fellow citizens during the pandemic. Acknowledging that service was one of the few things leaders across the aisle used to agree on. However, President Biden's recent employer vaccine mandate has shattered that consensus, singling out for punishment American workers who have understandable concerns about this brand-new vaccine and who do not trust our medical ruling class after their numerous missteps and apparent cover-ups since last year. This is a travesty,” said Terry Schilling, President of the American Principles Project. "We should be doing all we can to support these workers and their families, not crushing them. APP fully supports Sen. Blackburn's legislation to ensure essential workers are exempt from this unjust mandate, and we urge her fellow members of Congress to join her in this effort."
- The Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act will ensure our economy remains open by protecting our essential workforce from being fired. In August 2021, the U.S. economy had a shocking 10.4 million open jobs. As grocery store shelves sit empty and communities struggle to recover, the Biden administration announced a sweeping plan that would force countless Americans to be fired.
- Countless Tennessee essential workers will be affected or fired as a result of President Biden’s federal vaccine mandates.
- This legislation will protect essential workers from being fired due to federal COVID vaccination requirements.
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- Click here for the bill text.