Holcomb calls Biden’s vaccine order ‘a bridge too far’

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Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has long urged Hoosiers to get COVID-19 vaccines, on Friday pushed back against President Biden’s order that all businesses with more than 100 employees require their workers to be immunized or face weekly testing.

Holcomb, a Republican, called Biden’s plan, announced Thursday, “a bridge too far” and said it is not the government’s role to issue vaccine mandates upon citizens or private businesses.

“I believe it is fundamentally a citizen’s right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine,” Holcomb said in a written statement. “While I wish everyone would get the vaccine, we are a country built on this exact type of freedom.”

Holcomb stopped short, however, of threatening legal action against the Biden administration over the issue, unlike some other Republican governors. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said he asked his state’s attorney general “to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power,” according to the Washington Post.

South Dakota Gov. Kristin Noem tweeted “see you in court.” Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia tweeted that he would “pursue every legal option … to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, said Thursday night he and other AGs were prepared to fight the mandates.

“My team and I, along with other like-minded attorneys general, are reviewing all legal action on how to stand against these authoritarian actions by the Biden administration,” he said in a written statement. “We will be prepared to file suit if Biden seeks illegal actions restricting Hoosiers’ liberties.”

Holcomb, who oversaw the Indiana Department of Health’s rollout of the vaccine, and publicly got vaccinated himself at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, wrote: “I believe the vaccine is the number one tool that will protect us and our loved ones against COVID-19. It is the tool that will end the pandemic.”

He added: “However, I strongly believe it’s not the state or federal government’s role to issue a vaccine mandate upon citizens and private businesses. This is the approach our administration has taken all along. The announcement from President Biden is a bridge too far. Private businesses should be able to look at their own mission, their staff and their goals and make the decision best for them that will keep their doors open.”

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70 thoughts on “Holcomb calls Biden’s vaccine order ‘a bridge too far’

    1. Not a movie. It’s reality that Trump so mishandled the pandemic, and Biden had it under control in 60 days. If it were not for the anti-vaxers, Covid would not have come back like it did. You all have a right to personal liberty, but not the liberty to kill others by your decisions. That’s why the country is furious with you and why you have lost and will now need to get the vaccine.

    2. You have a vaccine in record time because the Trump admin. cleared red tape. Under Biden we would be waiting another 3 years.

    3. Oh Will.

      Did you know that even people with vaccines can carry and spread the virus? So the entire argument that everyone needs to get the vaccine so that they don’t spread it to others is entirely FALSE.

      Additionally, COVID-19 is a type of flu. Once we learned how to deal with it, and rolled out the vaccines under Trump, as well as found some other medicinal ways to treat it, it is far less deadly to the majority of US citizens. It will require flu shots every year, for those who are worried about contracting it. Its not the plague. It is not measles. It is not Polio. It is the flu.

      I have the vaccine, but I’m not mad at anyone who doesn’t want it.

    4. Will O. obviously you think you know more than you do… I’d suggest looking at the death/duration graphs from the 1918 Spanish flu. Compare the shape of that “triple spike” or “triple wave” to the death/duration graph of the current Covid flu. A third-grader can see that even with all the vaccine work and modern medicine, which are saving lives- don’t get me wrong here, the Covid-19 virus is following its natural prgression. What Biden and his supporters/worshippers did not or do not get is the “summer pause” was going to happen no matter what.

      Second, you blame Trump for “mishandling the pandemic”… Hmmm, are you even conscious? That comment is simply absurd.

      Lastly, there is a WW2 movie called “A Bridge Too Far” about Operation Market-Garden, but I doubt you have heard of it, let alone watched it.

  1. Even an unconstitutional mandate against our personal liberty of our bodies can’t hide the dumpster fire in the White House. I feel bad for the guy; he’s incapacitated. His advisors, on the other hand, are destroying the nation with reckless policy. It’ll be over soon, and we’ll get this country back to independence and capitalism without the overarching dictatorship out of the swamp. And! I’ll wait for SCOTUS to destroy this sham of a Labor Department.

    1. What part of the constitution does this violate. If you can point to a legally defensive part of the constitution that this violates, I have $10K for you. Unfortunately your uninformed argument is not backed by facts of what the constitution protects. I suggest you read the constitution for the first time in your life.

    2. 10th Amendment – Federal government has only those powers delegated to it by the Constitution, and that all other powers not forbidden to the states by the Constitution are reserved to each state.

    3. Ryan H. –

      If this ever reaches the Supreme Court, buckle up for a wild ride as most of the the federal government does now is not done under “powers delegated to it by the Constitution.” Furthermore, because the virus poses a serious public health risk that does not respect state borders, an argument can be made that only the federal government can protect the country from further death and economic havoc.

    4. Brent, agree it is a serious public health risk, but remember, the vaccine does not prevent you from spreading the virus to others. It simply minimizes the effects the virus will have on you if you catch it. This “vaccine” is probably not even techinically qualified as a vaccine – as it does not 100% prevent you from catching the virus. i.e. so called breakthrough cases

    5. The Democratic Party has become the National Socialist Party. Just moved from Europe to US. While masks are such a good idea, this move will just propel the left-right frenzy to madness, and perhaps obscure the witless withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    6. Ryan, the 10th Amendment means only what it says, and the Constitution cannot be read in isolated sections just to make the argument you wish to make. Under the Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, the federal government has plenary power, and as infectious diseases impact on large employers certainly substantially affects interstate commerce, the federal government has the authority to regulate and require vaccination in the workplace for large employers. Furthermore, the additional order that applies to organization participating in the Medicare or Medicaid program is Constitutional as the federal government has full authority to mandate vaccinations as a condition of receiving Medicare under the Spending Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1.

    7. Brent – the covid vaccine options are NOT 95% effective. At best (data updates monthly) they continue to trickle down to 60%… on a good day.

      Sound familiar? Oh, like the flu shot.

    8. A report from the Congressional Research Service from May 2019 says that federal authority on vaccinations is limited. It is the states that have the general authority, within constitutional limits, to enact laws requiring vaccination.

      Based on the principles of federalism, the Supreme Court has interpreted the 10th Amendment as preventing the federal government from commandeering or requiring states to carry out federal duties. “In the context of vaccination, this principle prevents Congress from requiring states or localities to pass mandatory vaccination laws,” the report said. The federal government, however, could provide incentives to states to enact vaccination laws.

  2. A bridge too far? What would he know about bridges? Indiana’s GOP leaders have let 6% of our bridges fall into structural deficiency.

    But on topic – the White House has full authority and responsibility to take this action. Literally in the first sentence of the Constitution.

    1. Vaccination mandates are “literally in the first sentence of the constitution” of what country?

    2. Are you nuts? I don’t know what Constitution you are reading – but here is the first paragraph ( the preamble ) and when you read it make sure you look up the word “liberty” ( but for you I will add that definition to the end ) –

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense , promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      What exactly is liberty?
      In modern politics, liberty is the state of being free within society from control or oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. … Thus liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom.

    3. Um Charles… not sure the constitutional law class you went to, but if you are referring to the Preamble, those are just goals (promote “Tranquility” “general Welfare”, etc), not empowering statements to the Executive to do whatever he thinks furthers those goals.

      The empowering statements are in the rest of the document, constrained / modified by the Bill of Rights and other Amendments.

      Based on an initial read it is quite a stretch to assert OSHA has this power under Law, let alone the Executive has overriding authority under the Constitution.

    4. Among the enumerated powers is regulation of interstate commerce…so masks and vaccines can certainly be required for interstate travel.

    1. Get with the faulty vaccine (not a vaccine) program? The vaccine doesn’t doesn’t prevent you from getting it or spreading it. Read the science on this. This vaccine mandate is nothing but a power grab, and the lemmings who don’t read or research about breakthrough cases and how this is transmitted between even vaccinated people, are just going along with it for the “public good.”

    2. Simply stated and the right thing to do. Today vaccinations for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A & B and Polio are required for school age children. Did they go through this kind of ridiculous fight? God, I hope not. Everyone seems to want to be a hammer to a nail. Stop the petty bickering. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, fine… Don’t expect sympathy when you’re on your deathbed.

    3. Rebecca, NO vaccine is or ever has been 100% effective. There is nothing “faulty” about the existing vaccines. But, if you get vaccinated you are much, much less likely to get infected, and if you do get infected you are much, much less likely for the infection to lead to hospitalization, and in the rare case you need to be hospitalized, if you are vaccinated, you are much, much less likely to die compared to an unvaccinated person.

      I think you need to “read the science,” Becky.

  3. Apparently the GOP missed the memo that it’s a vaccine OR testing mandate. That’s certainly something OSHA has the ability to require considering they’re responsible for workplace safety. I’m glad this is finally happening.

    1. This is much less restrictive than the government pushes for previous vaccines for previous epidemics. People are so brainwashed by the media and have no clue about precedent. SCOTUS has a history of upholding government vaccine mandates & consequences for not getting one’s children vaccinated used to be as severe as taking children away from parents. The COVID vaccine push is nothing.

    2. I have to suggest that after some research, this won’t hold up to review by the Supreme Court and will get tossed… while I also state that a vaccine mandate is something that I wish would happen.

      Perhaps Jacobson v. Massachusetts doesn’t allow for forced vaccinations … but that it does allow for penalties for noncompliance with a vaccine mandate. So the government might not be able to make you get vaccinated, but they can fine you whatever they want for refusing the shot and they can throw you in jail if you don’t pay.

      This is personally what I’d expect the Supreme Court to rule in a 5-4 case setting aside Biden’s ruling, perhaps with the addendum that an executive can’t create the penalties, they must come via legislation. Because that at least offers the possibility for further action, even though Republicans would shut down any such legislation. This is how a Supreme Court as currently constructed would toss out a century of precedent with vaccinations.

      While damaging, I think that would be the least bad way they could overturn the vaccine mandate. Because it does offer the minute possibility that maybe in the future, we don’t have one political party that is a death cult and both parties would say, hey, get vaccinated or pay a large fine.

      I also think they might just say, hey, individuals have the right to infect others with no recourse. That does align with the recent decision that churches don’t have to follow executive orders on capacity limits because the free exercise of religion is more important than public health and safety. I’d then expect a bunch of states to turn around and drop the laws requiring childhood vaccinations before going to school. It’s an awful idea for society, but, hey, the Republican Party is a party of and for kooks so it’s the type of things I could see them doing.

      I rather wonder sometimes of polio survivor Mitch McConnell truly contemplated how his legacy will be shaped by his actions in packing the Supreme Court.


  4. IDK what else he was supposed to do. People aren’t getting the FDA approved shot and they are destroying the economy. Holcomb is wrong on this and we all know that Rokita is a joke. He’s going to waste more taxpayer money to litigate a lost cause. The Supreme Court has a history of upholding vaccine mandates since the early 1900s. The only possible constitutional issue with the COVID vaccines was that they were not FDA approved, but now they are, you Newsmax stans are in a corner on this one.

    1. Again , we have the right to chose- go read my other post and tell me that I am wrong. One word sums it all up, “Liberty”

      What exactly is liberty?
      In modern politics, liberty is the state of being free within society from control or oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. … Thus liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom.

    2. David B, your right to choose is OK, right up until your choice harms someone else. You have the “Freedom” to “choose” a religion that condones human sacrifice, but I don’t care what the law says about freedom of religion, your freedom stops when you harm someone else.

      In the case of global pandemic, choosing not to get vaccinated or wear masks has the potential to harm those around you.

  5. In 1984 the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed and signed into law by President Reagan. The legislation made federal highway funding to individual states contingent on uniformly raising the legal age to buy or consume alcohol to 21 years. The intention was to reduce the number of deaths related to drunk driving. Some raised the concern of infringing on personal rights (if you were old enough to die for your country you were old enough to drink). States could opt in or out. All but one state took the money and complied with the law. As intended, the death rate of drivers and others secondarily involved in traffic accidents went down. It may be time to tie similar state funding to rational vaccine policies with the intent of saving the lives of those unvaccinated and ensuring the continued protection of others who have been vaccinated.

    1. Might be time we only allow the Federal Government to confiscate money on Friday that falls within the confines of the Constitution.

  6. David, I’m glad you know how to google the preamble. It calls for the government to provide for the common welfare of the people. While you personally don’t believe in vaccines, I’m glad the President does and has the authority to make you get the shot that will keep you from killing me and my kids.

    1. If you have the vaccine are you protected or not. You must not have much faith in the vaccine if you are afraid of dying.

  7. My wife runs an urgent care clinic Monday through Thursday. Of all the Covid tests this week with positive results, 80% involved folks who had received one or more vaccinations. What about mRNA protein shots makes you believe you are protected? You who believe in vaccines, and forcing it on the rest of us, are like sheep being led to slaughter. Wake up!

    1. Positive test results are not the same as hospitalizations. The vast majority of hospitalizations are those who are unvaccinated. That is how vaccines work. You need to look beyond your anecdotal evidence because it is not representative of the benefits of vaccination.

    2. Oh, Keith. Quit making up your own set of facts. (Tell us the name of the clinic where your wife works so we can ask for the results of those tests; if you can’t do that, you are not a “trusted” source.) If the mRNA vaccines don’t work, as you allege, why is it that 98-percent of infections from the Delta variant of Covid-19 and pretty much all of the deaths have been confirmed by public health offices to be among the unvaccinated? Yes, 2-percent of vaccinated get so-called “break-through” infections, but the symptoms are milder and seldom if ever require hospitalizations. Indeed, folks like you – the unvaccinated – are the sheep being slaughtered.

    3. Keith, Americans are apathetic and are not engaged enough to research available information other than the evening news. Which has no credibility to provide anything other than the DC Establishment narrative. Follow the money.

    4. Rebecca W. The “study” you quote only reports that vaccinated people can have viral loads in their nasal passages. They did not provide evidence that there was actual transmission to other people. If you want more “real world” evidence, here is a letter from the New England Journal of Medicine published 9/8/21(https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2106757?query=featured_home). Their findings: “Cases of Covid-19 were less common among household members of vaccinated health care workers during the period beginning 14 days after the first dose than during the unvaccinated period before the first dose (event rate per 100 person-years, 9.40 before the first dose and 5.93 beginning 14 days after the first dose). After the health care worker’s second dose, the rate in household members was lower still (2.98 cases per 100 person-years).” They further said “Relative to the period before each health care worker was vaccinated, the hazard ratio for a household member to become infected was 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 0.78) for the period beginning 14 days after the first dose and 0.46 (95% CI, 0.30 to 0.70) for the period beginning 14 days after the second dose. Not all the cases of Covid-19 in the household members were transmitted from the health care worker; therefore, the effect of vaccination may be larger.” No, the vaccine doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of transmission, but it it makes it a heck of lot less.

  8. The hair on fire reaction mischaracterizes the question – it is not a question of choosing either personal liberty or tyranny/oppression/(other-choose your pejorative term) to the exclusion of the other, rather it is a question of prioritizing between two goods offered in a self-governed pluralistic democracy – personal liberty or collective welfare of the governed. The “mandate” actually thoughtfully preserves personal liberty through the option to choose testing in lieu of vaccine.

    1. Understand it is not a democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic “if you can keep it” Ben Franklin

    2. Steve, I always intentionally select the term “democracy” to bait folks into displaying their self-proclaimed superior intellect by correcting the reference to “republic”. I don’t expect to move you, but try to lift your thinking to a level higher than the words on paper (or talking points that are recited ad nauseum like a religious chant by the “sheeple”, maybe? in some echo chambers – Marxism, tyranny, MSM evils, communism, oppression, socialism, Biden’s handlers, my body, my choice, slippery slope, you can choose to live in fear, I do not; blah, blah, blah.)

      Today is a great milestone to consider the importance of recognizing that representative governance forces choices to be made in our republic that can deliver assymetric results. (Those results, by the way, are nearly always good – most of us believe we live in the best country in the world). So, 20 years ago, we gave up many individual liberties freely, in order to have an improved collective security. We did so because there was assymetry between what we gave up and what we believed we received in return. We were able to logically prioritze between sacrificing some individual liberties and, in turn, receiving collective security improvements.

      This issue is not significantly different – humankind is under attack from a new threat and humankind has developed a defense against it. The evidence has shown we are far better off collectively by individually accepting the defense against the pandemic and ample time and carrots have been provided to entice the hesitant. Those railing about their “loss of liberty” in being given a choice of either weekly testing or accepting a shot (as they would voluntarily do for yellow fever if traveling to Africa or for tetanus if they stepped on a nail) remind me of a friend’s story from teaching assistance to first graders. Whenever one of them throws a tantrum at school, her starting point is to ask them whether what they are so outraged about is “a really big problem or just a little glitch?” Time for us all to either raise our sleeve or regularly check to make sure we are minimizing the risk we pose to our fellow citizens – it’s really “just a little glitch”. Those who want to make it more than that really aren’t earning serious attention.

  9. Geezus, if I have to hear one more Fox News talking point (sheep, personal liberties, etc) I’m going to puke. Do you wear a seat belt? Did you vaccinate your kids before kindergarten? Do you stop at red lights? If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA do you mow your lawn and keep up your yard? If you have any decency, believe in the common welfare of people and being a productive member of a society – just get the vaccine. It’s really not a big deal.

    1. When the President threatens your lively hood and he has no authority to do so, it is a big deal.

      If you want to live under a tyrant who threatens citizens, Governors and military contractors, then is no big deal. But there are plenty Communist countries that will provide you that, just don’t screw up the last bastin of hope for free and liberty.

    2. Steve R.-
      The president is not threatening anyone’s livelihood (note the correct spelling), as you can choose been vaccination or regular Covid testing (positive results will result in mandatory quarantine, contact tracing, etc.). Seems to me remaining unvaccinated is the real threat, not just to your job but to your life.

  10. The pandemic will never end if people do not get vaccinated. Kind of that simple.

    And vaccines are already required of school children and the Supreme Court has upheld complaints and felt is was not a violation of the constitution.

    1. The loss of liberty, freedom and our Constitution rights will never be restored if we continue to succumb to tyranny.

    2. Steve, what tyranny are you whining about? To experience real tyranny, go live in North Korea, Iran (which conservatives now seem to want to replicate here with a religious theocracy) or even Russia (which conservatives went from despising to now embracing, despite the country being a brutal dictatorship).

      The President had the right to enforce federal law. And, federal law regulates interstate commerce under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3. Covid-19 has been severely impacting interstate commerce for over a year, and the President can take steps to ensure it is finally brought under control and protect interstate commerce by regulating safety protocols at large employers. No one is forcing you to actually get the vaccine, though you are blindingly stupid if you don’t, it is still your choice. What is NOT your choice is to put other people at risk, not just of infection, but of being denied timely medical care because you are tying up scarce medical resources if you get sick from Covid and need hospitalization. So, it is simple, get vaccinated, OR get tested weekly and wear protective gear when you are enclosed spaces at work. Neither one of these choices affects your livelihood, as you can certainly keep on working under either of them.

  11. So many sheeple on this site that willingly do whatever the politicians say without a question. Group think is not my thing. I like to look at the evidence of whether something works or not. My personal evidence is that the vaccines don’t prevent contracting Covid. In my family 5 of us vaccinated, 3 got covid after vaccination, and none died or even had a serious illness.

    1. Steve,

      Where were you when President Bush pushed through the Patriot Act? 9/11 killed 3,000 Americans. The Patriot Act enables the gov’t to track you, listen to your calls, etc. Far more invasive than asking you to get a vaccine to prevent a virus that has killed 600,00+ Americans.

    2. Rebecca, did you get the measles shot? Polio? The reason those aren’t around anymore is because people get a, wait for it….a vaccination. The flu shot doesn’t prevent you from getting the flu it reduces the likelihood and lessens the potential effects.

    3. Becky, glad you are knowledgeable about livestock, but you are no infectious disease expert. And, the anecdotal experience of your family is not scientific evidence.

      That said, I would note that if your vaccinated relatives did not get seriously ill, it means the vaccine IS WORKING as it is supposed to work since vaccinated people who get a “breakthrough” infection are much less likely to get seriously ill than an unvaccinated person who contracts Covid.

      In any event, the new federal mandate does not force you to get vaccinated. If you choose not to do so, you are simply required to get tested weekly and wear a mask indoors at your workplace—neither one prevents you from working.

  12. Those who are willing to give up liberty for security deserve neither.

    Joe Biden threatened the Governor’s, and Holcomb does think he will take legal action. Governor I honestly don’t care what you think you represent the 6+ million citizens of Indiana. If you are going to circumvent the rights of the citizens of Indiana and relinquish power to the Federal Government , we have the wrong person as CEO of Indiana.

    The US Constitution is based on rights that we the people gave to the Federal Government, I.E. see the 10th amendment.

    Amendment X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    Governor stand up for the 10th amendment, the Federal Government has over stepped is Constitutional authority and Biden handlers are acting like 3rd world Marxist dictators.

  13. Wow, maybe glamour boy Rokita will protect our rights against the small pox and polio vaccines. I am tired of these mandates being shoved down our throats. I don’t want to live in a country where people aren’t free to spread polio or small pox. Please save us Todd!

  14. When it affects the health and welfare of his state, HE BETTER TAKE THE INTIATIVE and not rely on selfish people who only care about themselves! I used to respect you governor but this type of action has me questioning your ability to lead.

  15. Good for Biden. Gov. Holcomb I disagree. It is indeed the president’s role to seek to quell a pandemic which continues to negatively affect the economy. Many could simply don a mask as a simple means to minimize transmission. But a proposed mask mandate has drawn outrageous comments and actions. The head-in-the-sand approach by too many so-called leaders has proven useless as the pandemic rages and the economy once again slumps. One has options — get the vaccine or be tested. No one must get the vaccine. Being tested as a requirement to interact with others in a workspace is not an unreasonable request or requirement. Alternatively, for those who do not wish the vaccine or test, perhaps allow a telework option.

    The ongoing crisis is due to those who refuse to get the vaccine and also will lie to gain access to venue which require a vaccination for entry. Those who refuse to get the vaccine stand first and foremost to suffer severe illness or die — their option — but to willingly, selfishly, and uncaringly subject other to illness is not a right but a behaviour which should be subject to government rule.

    So, is the Indiana plan to open all businesses and just hope and pray that all get vaccinations and that no one will get sick. Indiana is truly the third finger of the South sticking it to the Midwest.