Two dozen states are suing the Biden administration over its new rules imposing a mask mandate on children participating in Head Start programs.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is leading the lawsuit, announced the filing Tuesday on his website.
“Like all of his other unlawful attempts to impose medical decisions on Americans, Biden’s overreaching orders to mask two-year-olds and [forcibly] vaccinate teachers in our underserved communities will cost jobs and impede child development,” Landry said.
“If enacted, Biden’s authoritarianism will cut funding, programs, and childcare that working families, single mothers, and elderly raising grandchildren rely on desperately.”
Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill also denounced the administration for trying to impose a vaccine mandate on Head Start teachers, contractors and volunteers by Jan. 31.
Landry said: “Our Nation’s children have faced enough setbacks and difficulties during the last two years; they cannot afford another government attack on their development.
“My office has had great success in blocking Biden’s mandates on many hard-working Americans, and we will work tirelessly to achieve the same victories for toddlers and teachers.”
Head Start programs, which are funded by the federal government, are designed to get children up to age 5 ready for school while providing support and services to low-income families that have children.
Supporting the lawsuit are attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and West Virginia.
The lawsuit calls the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates “lawless” and opposes what it called a “sledgehammer” approach to vaccinating Americans.
The HeadStart mandate, the lawsuit said, “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 — achieving the very opposite result of its purported goal.”
The lawsuit notes that the Biden administration initially said mandates were in the cards, but “in early September 2021, the Administration abandoned persuasion for brute force and announced an unprecedented series of federal mandates, aimed at compelling most of the adult population of the United States to get a COVID-19 vaccine and at expanding mask mandates.”
The lawsuit said the Department of Health and Human Services “acknowledged that closing programs harms children and families, even resulting in increased incidents of domestic violence, but did not acknowledge that many programs have been open for months and would close or lose capacity to serve their existing enrollment of children as a result of the Mandate.”
The lawsuit noted that the administration that promised to follow science did not.
“HHS did not engage with research that shows that unnecessary corrective and negative interaction with Toddlers, as it acknowledges will likely occur with two and three years olds due to the Toddle Mask Mandate, results in a loss of teaching time and impairs the bonding relationship between the teacher and the child,” the lawsuit said.
“HHS did not address or engage with hygiene issues created by requiring two and three year olds to wear masks,” the lawsuit also said.
The mandate exceeds the administration’s authority, the lawsuit said, and violates multiple laws as well as the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
The lawsuit said Biden’s edict leaves many Americans caught between two sets of laws.
“The Head Start Mandate creates conflicts between programs’ compliance with State and federal laws, and requires participants to give up rights protected by State law,” the suit says. “For example, in Louisiana, parents and students would be denied their State law right to opt-out of a vaccine requirement for any reason,” the lawsuit said, adding, “In other States, such as Montana, Alabama, and Florida, Programs would be placed in direct conflict with state law prohibitions on vaccine mandates.”