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Calling President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate for federal contractors “a big government power grab,” Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday the White House is attempting to turn employers into “the vaccine police.”

“This is a recipe for financial disaster,” Kemp said, just minutes before the General Assembly gaveled into a special redistricting session. “The Biden administration wants to invade the personal lives of thousands of Georgians and burden hundreds of businesses of all sizes.”

On Friday, Georgia joined several other Republican-led states in filing a long-threatened complaint against Biden and other federal agencies over the White House’s COVID vaccine mandate.

Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. The lawsuit claims the mandate is unconstitutional.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said Biden’s mandate could impact whether Georgia has enough workers to properly inspect food and meat.

“We need clarity on this,” said Black, who also is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“This lawsuit is not about COVID vaccines,” said Carr. “I am pro vaccine. I am vaccinated myself. This lawsuit is about Biden overstepping his authority. It’s about whether a president has the authority to run a state agency through his federal contracting power. And he does not.”

On Tuesday, the White House released the results of a poll conducted by Small Business for America’s Future, which it said shows widespread support among small businesses for encouraging vaccinations, including with workforce requirements.

The poll, conducted Oct. 18-26 among 1,032 small businesses connected through the organization’s network, found 60% of small business owners believe vaccination efforts are important to ensuring a full economic recovery from COVID-19.

It also found support (68%) for requiring vaccinations for federal government employees, and 87% of small business owners agreed that requiring companies with 100 or more employees to have all of their workers vaccinated or tested weekly will help get more Americans back to work.


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