Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Arkansas delegation responds to new Biden COVID-19 plan with employer vaccine mandates


FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas lawmakers took to social media to express their thoughts in response to Pres. Joe Biden’s decision to implement an aggressive COVID-19 response that could affect millions of workers across the country.

On Thursday, Biden announced a new federal plan that would require employers with 100 or more employees to either mandate vaccines or test for COVID-19 weekly in an effort to stop the pandemic surge being driven by the delta variant.

During an interview on FOX News, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said disagreed with the president’s decision, calling the vaccine mandate a “counterproductive, unlawful, political distraction”.

Cotton also blamed Biden for the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, saying that the president attacked the administration of former Pres. Donald Trump and its vaccine plan.

On Friday, Arkansas Senator John Boozman tweeted out that he believes the vaccine is the quickest way to get back to normalcy but that he also believes that the mandate will sow more doubt and distrust in Americans.

The Arkansas delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives have also released statements on the president’s plan.

Rep. French Hill tweeted that mandating vaccines could harm employment in private businesses and that he believes that Americans should be able to make their own decisions on receiving the vaccine.

Rep. Bruce Westerman released a statement saying the mandate does not combat vaccine hesitancy and says the Biden administration has ignored other ongoing crises in the country by implementing this executive order.

Rep. Steve Womack tweeted that he encourages vaccinations for Americans but that the federal government should not be mandating vaccines on private businesses.

Rep. Rick Crawford also released a statement responding to the vaccine mandate, calling the executive decision a “condescending, and counter-productive, effort to shift blame from his failures.” Crawford said he believes the mandate will cause many Arkansans to leave the workforce.

“I believe vaccination makes sense, but we should use education and persuasion, and respect that Americans prioritize different legitimate interests,” Crawford said. “Destroying peoples’ livelihoods just continues the rancor and division he promised to work against while running for president. It will also mean more harm to businesses trying to recover from months of lockdowns.”

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