Republican-led states urge judge to give decision on Biden’s vaccine mandate by Thanksgiving

November 11, 2021, 5:30 PM UTC

States challenging President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for millions federal contractors urged a judge to expedite their lawsuit, arguing that objectors urgently needed to know if they would have to find new jobs before Christmas.

The 10 Republican-led states on Thursday asked a federal judge in St. Louis to rule by Thanksgiving on their request for an order temporarily putting Biden’s executive order on hold during their suit. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is leading the case, noted in a court filing that the deadline for compliance with the mandate is Jan. 18, which means federal contractors who choose to get inoculated will need to get their first shots as soon as Dec. 7, depending on which vaccine they choose. Those who opt not to get vaccinated will have to make other decisions, he said.

“Working families will have to start making painful decisions about their economic futures—including cutting back on holiday spending and looking for new employment if necessary—long before the holidays,” Schmitt said.

The Biden administration objected to the states’ request to expedite the matter, arguing in a filing that there was “certainly no reason to rush” because the government had recently tweaked the rule, including by offering a six-week extension for compliance. 

The litigation over federal contractors is separate from lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private companies with at least 100 employees. A federal appeals court placed a temporary stay on that rule.

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