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'We said we'd take action': DeSantis announces lawsuit against Biden administration over vaccine mandates

The governor is also moving forward with plans to call a special legislative session to fight federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida is filing yet another lawsuit against the Biden administration and this time, it's over vaccine mandates for federal contractors.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement Thursday morning in Lakeland alongside Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, saying that the mandate impedes Florida's employment policies and threatens the state's economy. 

"We said we’d take action and we are. This lawsuit has been filed," DeSantis said. "We think that we can hopefully get a preliminary injunction and be able to protect people's jobs from this mandate coming in and kicking a lot of good people out of work."

The mandate, which was announced by President Joe Biden on Sept. 9, requires millions who work as employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to Biden, DeSantis and Moody are filing the lawsuit against NASA, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, and officials within the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Defense.

Although, according to doctors, data shows that vaccine mandates are effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Moody called the federal mandate "a complete and gross overreach of the federal government into the personal autonomy of American workers."

The lawsuit states "because the government’s unlawful vaccine requirement seeks to interfere with Florida’s employment policies and threaten Florida with economic harm and the loss of federal contracts, the State seeks relief from this Court."

This litigation is an apparent follow-through of a promise the governor made last week to "exhaust every legal option we have" to fight COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

DeSantis plans to hold a special legislative session in November to discuss policies he says would protect Floridians' right to choose whether they want to get vaccinated against the virus.  

The governor doubled down on statements he made last week that someone's "right to earn a living" should not be contingent upon COVID shots. 

“We’ve gone from 15 days to slow the spread to three jabs to keep your job somehow. Are you kidding me?” DeSantis said.

A White House official sent the following statement to 10 Tampa Bay regarding the lawsuit: 

"This is a once in a generation pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 700,000 Americans, and the President has committed to pulling every lever possible to save lives and stop the spread of the virus. Vaccine requirements work: they’re good for workers, good for the economy, and good for the country. The President has authority to protect the federal workforce and promote efficiency in federal contracting in this way. The Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have already determined that COVID vaccines can be required by employers."

During a press conference Friday, DeSantis took jabs at the Biden administration and doubled down on his stance against vaccine mandates.

"Stop coercing people with your mandates that are gonna cause a lot of problems in the economy and are gonna violate the constitution and people's individual rights to make decisions for themselves," the governor said to the Biden administration. 

"Focus on that instead of always coming and trying to blunder about business that doesn't concern you."

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