What do Iowa politicians think about Biden’s vaccine mandate?

By: - September 10, 2021 4:37 pm

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s campaign twitter posted a poll asking users what they thought of President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 measures. (COVID image courtesy of Fusion Medical Animation via Unsplash)

President Joe Biden announced a new COVID-19 mitigation approach on Thursday that requires about 100 million Americans to be vaccinated or routinely tested.

Under the plan, health care workers and all federal workers and contractors must be vaccinated. Companies with more than 100 employees must require vaccination or weekly testing.

“It’s not about freedom or personal choice,” Biden said Thursday. “It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.”

The plan did not go over well with Iowa Republicans, who have prioritized personal choice throughout the pandemic. Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement Thursday calling Biden’s plan “dangerous and unprecedented.”

“As I’ve said all along, I believe and trust in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families,” Reynolds said. “It’s time for President Biden to do the same. Enough is enough.”

The state GOP issued a statement Friday that Biden was “pitting vaccinated Americans against the unvaccinated” with the new requirements.

Iowa Democrats on Friday said Republicans were to blame for surging cases in the state. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls commended Biden’s “crucial measures” to combat COVID-19.

“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, and it never has been,” Wahls said in a statement. “This is about public health and protecting the lives of Iowans.”

Republicans in Iowa’s D.C. delegation encouraged vaccination but said the government should not require it.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley tweeted that he would “continue 2 encourage [vaccines] but it is YOUR choice I OPPOSE the heavy hand of federal govt mandating the vaccine on private biz.” Grassley’s campaign tweeted a poll asking users if Biden had “gone too far” with the mandate.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a physician, tweeted that the mandate was the result of Biden’s poor poll numbers.

Rep. Randy Feenstra tweeted Friday that Biden’s policy would “turn American job creators into the vaccine patrol,” calling it “an unprecedented, unconstitutional and counterproductive power grab.”

Rep. Ashley Hinson tweeted that she was outraged by the mandate, which she called unconstitutional.

Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. Cindy Axne, Iowa’s only Democrat in D.C., did not put out statements about Biden’s vaccine announcement.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.