East Texas House Republicans fight to stop Biden’s vaccine mandate

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:42 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Texas House Republicans are urging a federal appeals court to strike down President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement. The federal order calls for businesses with at least 100 workers to require the COVID-19 vaccine. Almost every Texas House Republican, including all of those from East Texas, are fighting the mandate.

“In the time I’ve been in office, I don’t know that I have ever had an issue that more people have reached out to me about than the vaccine mandate,” said State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler).

Schaefer is one of the 84 House Republicans to sign an amicus brief filed on Thursday. In the brief, lawmakers argue President Biden’s vaccine mandate is ‘blatantly unconstitutional.”

“We are challenging the most egregious order that a federal government has ever issued,” Schaefer. “The heavy hand of government coming down and saying, ‘lose your job, or take the vaccine’ is the wrong way to do it. It’s un-American.”

Schaefer isn’t alone in fighting the shot requirement. Other East Texas lawmakers whose names are in the brief include Jay Dean, Trent Ashby, Cody Harris, Cole Hefner, Keith Bell, Chris Paddie, and Travis Clardy.

“And let’s be very clear about this,” Clardy said. “This is not saying that we’re anti-vaccine. At this point, people have had two years to get their arms around the whole COVID crisis to understand the disease, understand the risks, the benefits, the upside and downside, and people should be able to make their own decisions just about individual liberties. That’s what this is fundamentally about.”

And while lawmakers are nearing the end of a year that was filled with three special sessions in addition to the regular session, some Texas lawmakers are calling for another special session to pass a state law against the vaccine mandate.

“Right now, I don’t think is the right time to do it,” Clardy said. “But if and when it’s determined that we need to convene a special session to take steps as a deliberative body on this issue. I’m absolutely willing to do that.

“We absolutely need a special session to pass a state law that would protect people who might lose their job if they don’t take the vaccine,” said Schaefer.

The only Texas House Republican to not sign the brief was Rep. Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg.

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