Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday sued the Biden administration over its vaccine mandate for federal contractors in a lawsuit alleging the president overstepped his legal authority.
“The federal government is exceeding [its] power and it is important for us to take a stand because in Florida we believe these are choices based on individual circumstances,” the Republican governor said in a statement.
The 28-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tampa, argues that the administration has no legal grounds to mandate such a sweeping requirement and that Biden’s rule violates procurement law.
The state is seeking an immediate injunction to the rule, which is slated to take effect Dec. 8.
DeSantis, a staunch Trump ally who’s considered a likely 2024 presidential contender, has opposed Covid-19 restrictions at the state, local and federal level. He has prohibited mask mandates and banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.
Biden announced the mandate for federal workers and contractors in September, when he also laid the groundwork for a rule that would require vaccinations or regular testing at businesses across the country that have at least 100 employees. Federal contractors, however, would not be allowed to opt for testing instead of vaccination.
Several GOP governors have threatened to sue the Biden administration over the forthcoming vaccine mandate for the private sector, while others have taken steps to counter the administration’s policies aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting any entity, including private businesses, from imposing Covid-19 vaccination requirements on employees or customers.
Abbott, a Republican, said in his order that it was prompted by the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a statement at the time.
Both Abbott and DeSantis are facing re-election next year.
Dartunorro Clark covers politics, including the Covid-19 recovery, for NBC News.