State Rep Calls Biden Administration 'Anti-American' Over COVID Vaccine Mandate

A Missouri state representative called the Biden administration "anti-American" over President Joe Biden's planned COVID vaccine mandate for large companies.

Missouri House GOP leaders sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday calling the mandate "blatantly unconstitutional" and calling on him to provide legal justification for it. During a committee hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers and other opponents to the plan had the chance to publicly voice their opinions.

"What we have seen this week from the Biden administration is anti-liberty, anti-American and, in my belief, unconstitutional," Republican Representative Nick Schroer said during the hearing.

Republican Senator Bill Eigel also voiced his dissatisfaction, saying Missouri would refuse to follow the mandate.

"This is our state," Eigel told the crowd gathered at the Capitol, "And we don't have to do what Biden tells us to do."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Missouri Capitol Building
Missouri House GOP members sent a letter to President Joe Biden on September 14, 2021, calling the vaccine mandate for businesses "blatantly unconstitutional." A man waves and American flag as he walks outside the Missouri State Capitol building on Jan. 20, 2021 in Jefferson City, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Business groups warned a panel of House legislators that Biden's plan would be catastrophic to small companies as protesters held handmade signs and rallied in the Capitol rotunda.

Biden announced last week that the Labor Department is working to require businesses with 100 or more employees to order those workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or show a negative test result at least weekly.

Biden announced the new mandate and several other steps last Thursday as part of a tougher effort by the administration to curb the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is responsible for sharp increase in U.S. infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

But the move sparked widespread outrage among Missouri's Republican-led Legislature.

Missouri Assisted Living Association lobbyist Jorgen Schlemeier said Biden's plan likely won't mean many more people get vaccinated in Missouri. He said some workers would rather quit and find another job than be vaccinated or face weekly testing.

"The mandate does not actually increase vaccination rates," Schlemeier said. "It simply squeezes the balloon, and employees go in other directions from the 100-and-over employers, where they are now."

Missouri Health Care Association Executive Director Nikki Strong said the mandate could "decimate" the long-term care workforce. She said one facility told her the impact will be "catastrophic."

Strong also cautioned lawmakers that the mandate could be counterproductive to nursing homes' efforts to increase vaccination rates.

"It's almost created more of a pushback," Strong said. "It's made our ability to educate and try to convince those to take the vaccine more difficult."

Outside the hearing room, protesters carried signs that read "My body, my choice″ and "Stop government mandates."

The Labor Department is working to issue an emergency rule to implement the mandate.

Missouri Vaccine Protests
Missouri state Representative Nick Schroer accused the Biden administration of being "anti-American" over the vaccine mandate. Missouri opponents rally Wednesday, September 15, 2021, in the Capitol rotunda in Jefferson City, Missouri, against President Joe Biden's plan to require that businesses with 100 or more employees order their workers to be fully vaccinated or submit a negative COVID-19 test at least weekly. Summer Ballentine/AP Photo