24 States Sue Biden Admin Over COVID-19 Mandates for Children, Staff in ‘Head Start’ Education Program

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Attorneys general (AG) from 24 states have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration challenging COVID-19 vaccine mandates for early education staff, and mask mandates for young children.

Led by Louisiana AG Jeff Landry, the lawsuit (pdf) argues that the mandates involving Head Start, the country’s largest early education program, are unlawful, and exceed President Joe Biden’s statutory authority.

Biden’s mandate, issued last month, applies to all preschool programs funded by the federal Head Start program, and affects hundreds of thousands of staff, volunteers, and preschool students across the country. It mandates vaccinations for staff, volunteers, and others in contact with students by the end of January, and masks for all adults and children aged two and above.

The mandate offers no alternative to vaccinations, and for those granted exemptions, funds are not provided for regular testing. It applies to staff regardless of whether they work in-person or remotely.

The Department of Health and Human Services provides funding to low-income families of preschool-age children under the federal Head Start program.

The lawsuit argues that the president’s mandate is projected to lead to tens of thousands of Head Start agency staff losing their jobs and will cause programs to close or reduce capacity.

“Like all of his other unlawful attempts to impose medical decisions on Americans, Biden’s overreaching orders to mask two-year-olds and force vaccinate teachers in our underserved communities will cost jobs and impede child development,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement on Tuesday. “If enacted, Biden’s authoritarianism will cut funding, programs, and childcare that working families, single mothers, and elderly raising grandchildren rely on desperately.”

The 24 states are seeking to block the Biden administration’s mandate, arguing that it is “arbitrary and capricious” and violates the Congressional Review Act and the Tenth Amendment.

The requirements also violate the Administrative Procedure Act’s Notice-and-Comment Requirement, the Nondelegation Doctrine, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, the Spending Clause, and the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999, according to the lawsuit.

By Isabel van Brugen

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