Mike Lee goes all-in against vaccine mandates

Public policy or political stunt? Utah senator introduced nine bills to block federal vaccine mandates

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(Andrew Harnik | AP) Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Mike Lee goes all-in against vaccine mandates

Last week Sen. Mike Lee introduced nine separate pieces of legislation targeting federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

  • S.2840 - A bill to permit civil actions against the United States for COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

  • S.2841 - A bill to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publicly disclose information regarding adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • S.2842 - A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to prohibit the Secretary of Defense from requiring that members of the armed forces receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • S.2843 - A bill to prohibit the imposition of a fine, fee, or taxation on any person for violation of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or any other executive agency.

  • S.2846 - A bill to require Federal agencies to acknowledge, accept, and agree to truthfully present, natural immunity pertaining to COVID-19 pursuant to promulgating certain regulations.

  • S.2847 - A bill to prohibit the Federal Government from mandating vaccination against COVID-19 for interstate travel.

  • S.2848 - A bill to exempt individuals with a personal health concern from complying with a Federal COVID-19 mandate.

  • S.2849 - A bill to stipulate that nothing in federal law provides a Federal agency with the authority to mandate that an individual be inoculated by a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • S.2850 - A bill to exempt individuals from complying with a Federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the basis of a personal belief, and for other purposes.

President Joe Biden announced he was mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all federal employees and contractors. He also said he was directing OSHA to develop a rule requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. In August, the Pentagon said it would mandate the vaccine for members of the military.

Lee, who contracted COVID last year and has since been vaccinated, has been a critic of the Biden administration’s move to mandate the vaccine. After Biden announced his plan for mandates, he tweeted that the president “has shown a wanton disregard for the U.S. Constitution.” He also called Biden a “would-be autocrat.”

This rash of bill filings, which do not have a single co-sponsor as of yet, suggests Lee may not be confident that Biden’s plan will be overturned in the courts.

Ultimately, these bills are political theater designed to send a message. There’s very little chance the Democratic-controlled Congress would pass them. In the unlikely event that was to happen, President Biden would likely veto them if they got to his desk since they’re directly targeting his policies.

Lee’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s what you need to know for Monday morning

🦠 A lack of planning and government infighting hamstrung Utah health officials during the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Tribune]

🏛 The U.S. House will vote later this week on the $3.5 trillion budget proposal. House Democrats are still trying to build support for the package that will enact much of President Joe Biden’s agenda. [WaPo]

🚨 The odds are growing that the U.S. could default on debt as the standoff in Congress over raising the debt limit continues. The Treasury will likely exhaust its power to borrow money in the next few weeks. [Politico]

🏛 Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney said in a “60 Minutes” interview that “millions of people have been betrayed and misled” by former President Donald Trump’s lies about the election being stolen. [CBS News]

😳 This is some Jason Bourne stuff. In 2017 the CIA plotted to kidnap or even assassinate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The plan went so far that there were discussions at the highest levels of the Trump administration. [Yahoo! News]

👀 The Utah Inland Port Authority secretly worked behind the scenes to advance a proposal to improve an unused California railroad that would be used to ship coal from a port in northern California. [Tribune]

🤝 Millcreek leaders struck a deal with Reagan Outdoor Advertising to remove six existing billboards in exchange for three digital billboards at the entrances of a new planned complex in the city. [Tribune]

💉 Many Utahns aren’t getting vaccinated against COVID-19 because they’re worried about possible side effects from the shot. [Tribune]

💉 Do COVID-19 vaccines work? The data paints a dramatic picture when they don’t. [Tribune]

💉 Pfizer’s CEO says they’ll ask for approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for some children under 12 years old. [CNN]

  • The U.S. has enough COVID-19 doses to give booster shots to older Americans seeking booster shots and for kids when they become eligible for the vaccine. [AP]

🚨 A new study says today’s children will live through three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents. [WaPo]

🇩🇪 Germany inches to the left. The left-center Social Democrats clawed out a narrow win over Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. SPD leadership says they will try to form a coalition government with the Greens and liberals. [BBC]

🇮🇸 Iceland elected Europe’s first majority-female parliament. [Axios]

💵 Here’s a closer look at how the LDS Church amassed a fortune that’s worth as much as $100 billion. [Tribune]

Monday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • Will controversial Book Cliffs Highway proposal increase tourism or boost oil and gas production? [Tribune]

  • Is Utah’s uranium industry key to a green energy future or a radioactive threat? [Tribune]

  • Gov. Spencer Cox, U. of U. community react to death of Utes football player Aaron Lowe. [Tribune]

  • Utah football player Aaron Lowe, ‘a rock of resiliency and courage,’ shot and killed at SLC party. [Tribune]

  • Thefts of catalytic converters hit low-income car owners harder. [Tribune]

  • 13 liquor facts every Utahn should know — whether you drink or not. [Tribune]

  • Utah Marine killed in Kabul airport attack laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. [Tribune]

  • Satanic Temple protesters cite Religious Freedom Act to demand reproductive rights in Utah. [Tribune]

  • How much is rent in Salt Lake County? It’s up 12% from last year. [Deseret News]

  • 32 Attorneys General, including Utah’s, asking Congress to modernize antitrust laws. [Fox 13]


  • Youngest Utahns ‘overlooked’ in Summit County COVID-19 data, public health order. [Tribune]


  • ‘It won’t be wild America anymore’: Protesters decry proposed gondola at Little Cottonwood Canyon. [Tribune]

  • Children, young adults lead climate strike at Utah Capitol. [Tribune]


  • ‘Mormon’ vanquished; Moroni missing; pageants pulled — is the LDS Church losing its identity? [Tribune]

Opinion page

  • Congratulations, Utah. You’ve found a way to make Facebook worse, George Pyle writes. [Tribune]

  • Gabby Petito was just one of hundreds of missing people we should have valued, Robert Gehrke writes. [Tribune]

  • Don’t let Utah’s top lawmakers stand in the way of the answer to the pandemic, Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

  • Opinion: Utah voters are showing up, but people could do more to be engaged civically. [Deseret News]

  • Opinion: Biden administration’s cruel mess at the border inexcusable. [Deseret News]