The state of Florida has sued the Biden administration over its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the lawsuit at a news conference Thursday, saying the president doesn't have the authority to issue the rule, and that it violates a key element of the law.
"Just months ago Joe Biden was saying that it wouldn't be appropriate or lawful for the federal government to mandate these COVID shots," DeSantis said in a statement. "But now we have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. The federal government is exceeding their power and it is important for us to take a stand because in Florida we believe these are choices based on individual circumstances."
The Florida governor has also fought masking and vaccine rules implemented by local governments in Florida.
As CBN News reported in May, DeSantis said he would pardon anyone criminally charged for violating mask or distancing rules.
The governor also recently announced he would call state lawmakers to the Capitol next month to pass legislation to combat vaccine mandates enacted by private businesses.
The federal case was filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa and names Biden, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, as well as White House contracting officials as defendants.
"I have never seen such blatant disregard for the Constitution or the laws governing our country," said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. "President Biden does not have the authority to force millions of Americans to receive a shot, nor does he have the ability to punish Florida economically for not abiding by his authoritarian, unlawful, and unconstitutional executive order."
"I promised to challenge this gross abuse of power and to stand up for hardworking Floridians and that is exactly why I am suing this president and his reckless administration," Moody said. "As Attorney General, I have an obligation to defend the rule of law, Florida's workers, and our state against heavy-handed federal overreach."
The vaccine mandate for the contractors is set to go into effect on Dec. 8.
On Wednesday, 21 Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to the president saying they think his vaccination mandate for federal contractors "stands on shaky legal ground," is confusing to contractors, and could exacerbate supply-chain problems.
As CBN News reported earlier this month, even though COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are down by nearly 50 percent, hospitalizations are down about 40 percent, but President Biden's next round of vaccine mandates is still coming.
"The Labor Department is going to soon be issuing an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements in their — among their workforce," the president said.
Those employees will have to get the vaccine or submit to regular COVID testing. It's an effort by the government to force shots into the arms of the 66 million Americans who remain unvaccinated.
"Let's be clear: Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us," Biden said.
Biden has argued that the mandates will help end a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 740,000 Americans.
But critics say his vaccine mandates will only divide us. The Republican National Committee has said it's suing over the private-sector mandate. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also signed an executive order he says nullifies the federal mandate for businesses in the Lone Star State, and at least 24 attorneys general have announced they'll sue over the mandate.