Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) slammed on Friday President Joe Biden's attempt to unilaterally mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for millions of Americans.
Kelly's comments came one day after the White House formally announced the mandate for businesses that employee more than 100 people. The mandate is being implemented via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and requires unvaccinated employees to undergo routine COVID-19 testing.
What did Kelly say?
In a statement on Friday, Kelly condemned the mandate as neither "correct," nor "effective."
Yesterday, I reviewed the new vaccine mandate from the Biden Administration. While I appreciate the intention to keep people safe, a goal I share, I don't believe this directive is the correct, or the most effective, solution for Kansas.
States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic. It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs. I will seek a resolution that continues to recognize the uniqueness of our state and builds on our on-going efforts to combat a once-in-a-century crisis.
The message received bipartisan applause from Kansas politicians.
In fact, Kansas state Sen. Tom Hawk (D) agreed that mandates aren't as effective as simply encouraging people.
"I think that the governor has pointed out that maybe mandates don't work as well as some of the things she's trying to do, which is encouraging people to get the vaccine," Hawk said, WDAF-TV reported.
"I want people to know that I think getting the vaccine is a critical part of us putting the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror," he added, "I think the critical thing is to try to encourage people to get the vaccine."
Fortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily halted Biden's mandate on Saturday.
"Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court," the three-judge panel wrote.
The court gave the government until Monday at 5 p.m. to respond before ruling on a permanent injunction. Importantly, the court did not rule on the merits of the mandate.
The Justice Department responded by vowing to defend the mandate.
"The OSHA emergency temporary standard is a critical tool to keep America's workplaces safe as we fight our way out of this pandemic," Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. "The Justice Department will vigorously defend this rule in court."