Iowa joins lawsuit over federal vaccine mandate

By: - October 29, 2021 1:06 pm

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Wednesday night to block President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private employers. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce/ For the Virginia Mercury)

The state of Iowa has joined a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that a requirement for federal employees to get vaccinated is “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise.”

President Joe Biden in early September signed an executive order that requires federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 with no opt-out. The rule is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 8.

Iowa has just over 18,000 federal employees, including U.S. Postal Service workers and National Guard members.

Ten states filed a lawsuit against Biden and other federal officials on Friday in the Eastern District Court of Missouri. The suit alleges that a vaccine mandate for federal workers is unconstitutional, overrides states’ rights and would disrupt important work in the states.

“I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but no one should be forced to choose between making a living or standing up for their personal beliefs,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “As long as I am governor, the State of Iowa will always stand alongside Iowans … to be sure their freedoms are protected.”

Reynolds announced Iowa’s participation in the lawsuit just hours after she signed a law that will provide unemployment benefits to Iowans who are fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The law also explicitly creates exemptions to employer vaccine mandates.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie 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.