U.S. Rep. Keller

Congressman Fred Keller listens during a round table discussion in Lewisburg in 2019.

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller said Friday he will fight back against President Joe Biden’s announcement this week of new federal vaccine requirements that would affect private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors.

Keller, a Republican from the 12th District, called President Biden’s plan “totalitarian measures,” and said he would use his role on the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections to push back against the mandates.

“Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate not only contradicts his previous assurances — it infringes on the most basic freedoms of America’s workers and employers to make their own health decisions regarding vaccination,” Keller said in a statement. “This administration is trampling on the rights of 80 million private-sector workers and weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to impose government-sanctioned workplace discrimination on the basis of vaccination status.

“I will fight these totalitarian measures through all available means. The federal government has no authority to dictate who is permitted to have a job, and Biden’s efforts to strong-arm employers into compliance will not stand.”

In the chamber, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey questioned the legal authority of the administration to mandate the vaccines.

“Choosing the vaccine is the right choice for most of America. My family and I received the vaccine, and I encourage everyone medically able to make that same decision,” he said. “Private businesses have the legal authority to impose vaccine mandates on their customers and or employees if they see fit. But federal government mandates, of dubious legality, will further alienate the skeptical, undermine our institutions, and punish ordinary business owners and their employees.”

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