January 1, 2022
OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
In a ruling against vaccine and mask mandates for Head Start programs implemented by the Biden administration, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called it a “win for the children of Texas.”
The ruling from Judge James “Wesley” Hendrix of the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Texas orders the COVID-19 protocol conditions for the funding of Head Start programs to be halted.
The new rules issued last month require children over 2 in Head Start programs to wear masks, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is mandating that all staff, contractors, and volunteers be vaccinated by the end of January.
“This is a win for the children of Texas for sure, given that parents should be making these decisions, not the Biden administration,” Paxton told Fox News.
“We didn’t think that was right,” Paxton said of the Biden administration’s rules. “We thought that was a parental choice, not a Joe Biden choice, so we sued them, arguing that he didn’t have the authority – statutory or constitutional – to do this.”
“The agency’s rule requires Head Start staff to be vaccinated and near universal masking of children and adults,” according to a court opinion. “It is undisputed that an agency cannot act without congressional authorization. Thus, the question here is whether Congress authorized HHS to impose these requirements.”
In response to a question about possible opposition, Paxton said, “I think parents are going to be glad they get to make the decision. This is a victory for freedom in America.”
“Hopefully, the Biden administration will lay down their sword and stop jabbing at parents and kids and just let this thing stand,” Paxton added. “I’m sure they won’t. … They think they should make the choice for these children and for these parents.”
Moreover, the court noted that it “concludes that there is a substantial likelihood that the mandates do not fit within the Head Start Act’s authorizing text, that HHS failed to follow the APA in promulgating the mandates and that the mandates are arbitrary and capricious,” and stated that it “preliminarily enjoins their enforcement in Texas.”
Gregg Abbott, the governor of Texas, praised the ruling on Twitter, writing: “Texas just beat Biden again. Another of Biden’s vaccine & mask mandates was just halted by a federal judge in Texas.”
The Biden administration was sued by 25 states last week over mask mandates for children and vaccination requirements for staff at Head Start programs.
The Biden administration faces lawsuits from Louisiana and 24 other states over the administration’s mask mandates and vaccination requirements for Head Start staff.
“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 Tuesday. “If enacted, Biden’s authoritarianism will cut funding, programs, and childcare that working families, single mothers, and elderly raising grandchildren rely on desperately.”
Children in Head Start programs over two years old are required to wear masks under new rules issued last month by the Biden administration, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is requiring all employees, contractors, and volunteers to obtain a vaccine by the end of January.
The 25 states want the mandate stopped, claiming that it exceeds the government’s authority and violates the Congressional Review Act and the Tenth Amendment.
“Our Nation’s children have faced enough setbacks and difficulties during the last two years; they cannot afford another government attack on their development,” Landry said. “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.”
Several other states have also pledged support for the effort, including 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.
Children up to five years old are prepared for school with the help of federally funded Head Start programs, which also provide services and support to low-income families with children.
SOURCE: The Republic Brief