Blackburn Announces Growing Support For Legislation To Keep Our COVID Heroes Employed

November 5, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn announced growing support for her legislation to protect essential workers from being fired due to Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates. Senator Blackburn’s announcement comes after the Fraternal Order of Police, National Police Association, National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council and Anderson County Tennessee Sheriff Russell Barker recently added their names to almost two dozen elected officials, organizations and unions supporting Senator Blackburn’s legislation to Keep Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed.


“The endorsements from these groups represent nationwide momentum to protect essential workers from being fired due to Joe Biden's mandates,” said Senator Blackburn. “American businesses are already struggling to recover from Democrat imposed lockdowns. They are in desperate need of employees, and now Joe Biden is forcing employers to fire their workers. Biden is even using his ‘build back broke’ plan to increase fines by over 500% on businesses that fail to comply with his unconstitutional mandates.”


“It is the position of the National FOP that vaccinations work to prevent people from becoming infected by COVID-19 and we encourage our members to get vaccinated,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “However, the National FOP believes that whether or not to accept the vaccine is a personal decision that our members should make for themselves after consultation with their doctor or other medical professionals. We understand the public policy and public health objectives behind the Federal mandate on vaccinations.  No one needs to tell our members about the dangers of COVID-19—we have lost more than 700 officers to the virus since the start of the pandemic.  We know it can be deadly. Even with that knowledge, law enforcement officers in every region of the country reported for work. Due to our profession, we did not have the option to work from home, and we could not always practice social distancing. We showed up and worked to keep our communities safe, even in the midst of a global pandemic and, sometimes, without even the most basic personal protective equipment (PPE). We have said from the beginning of the pandemic, that this is a public health crisis as well as a public safety crisis. Unfortunately, the public safety crisis could very well be exacerbated as a result of mandating our everyday heroes to choose unwillingly getting a medical procedure or their jobs—it is not fair or just. Delivering an ultimatum to the brave men and women of law enforcement is not right, and that is why the FOP—and our 364,000 members—supports S. 3079.  We urge the Senate to consider this legislation before these brave men and women lose their livelihoods.”


“We greatly appreciate and support Sen Blackburn's leadership in introducing the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act”, said Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith (Ret.), spokesperson for the National Police Association (NPA). “Unlike the flu vaccine, which has been available for over 70 years, the new, experimental, COVID-19 vaccines have no track record to establish their effectiveness in inhibiting transmission, their relationship to natural immunity gained from prior exposure, or long term safety. However, like the flu vaccine, the NPA supports voluntary vaccination and freedom from punitive, vindictive, and counterproductive threats of termination for making individual healthcare choices.”


“Many of our employees are fundamentally opposed to President Biden’s vaccine mandate and lack of any reasonable way to opt out, such as regular testing, and many are actively looking for other career opportunities not in the federal government as a direct result of this mandate,” said Chris Crane, President, National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council. “To be clear – the National ICE Council is not anti-vaccine but rather anti-mandate. The decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal one and should be made by each employee and their healthcare provider – not forced on them by President Biden. Simply put, we don’t believe any American should ever be forced to have any chemical injected into their body. Furthermore, Federal employees should have the same options, such as testing, as any other American. Federal employees should not be treated as a lesser form of American by this President. In addition to our fundamental opposition to these mandates, we have been dismayed by how unprepared and thoughtless the Biden Administration has been as they’ve attempted to implement this mandate. The initial implementation of the vaccine mandate has been last minute, rushed, and grossly mismanaged. The men and women of ICE put their lives on the line and serve our nation each and every day and there is no doubt they deserve better. On behalf of these law enforcement professionals, we are proud to express our strong support for Senator Blackburn’s Keeping Our COVID–19 Heroes Employed Act. We thank Senator Blackburn for her leadership and urge the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation.”


“The men and women of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office have shown resiliency and a commitment to service through, arguably, the toughest times of their law enforcement career,” said Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker. “In the not so distant past, these same men and women were applauded and praised for their loyalty and dedication through the pandemic – commonly referred to as heroes. Today, we find ourselves being threatened by those same people who are now pushing forward a vaccination mandate that is a gross overreach of power by the government.  The decision to vaccinate is between an individual and their provider – not the federal government.  I am vaccinated and encourage others to get them as well. However, I will NEVER impose a mandate nor will I follow one that I believe is unconstitutional. Our greatest gift as Americans is our freedom and that cannot be infringed upon.”