Prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020, the American economy was rolling. We had historic growth, record low unemployment, and greater opportunity for all Americans.

We endeavor to return to that era of economic success. However, the policies coming out of the Biden White House are not only holding our recovery back, but they are creating new crises on every front.

The government response to COVID-19 has ushered in a frightening era of big government — unsustainable deficit spending, incentives that discourage work, and overreaching mandates. Those policies have injured America’s economic recovery.

They have caused inflation to rise, created prolonged workforce shortages, and threatened individual freedoms. This includes the overreaching federal vaccine mandate that President Biden has tried to impose on American businesses. In addition to creating major workforce issues, vaccine mandates have sowed incredible division.

I have said many times that every American who wants the vaccine should receive it. The vaccine should be free and it should be accessible. Because of the work completed under Operation Warp Speed, there are three COVID-19 vaccines widely available throughout the United States. However, the decision to get vaccinated or not is a personal and private medical decision. Everyone should have the right to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccination.

Just as we respect every American’s right to choose vaccination, we should respect American’s right to refrain from vaccination. And every American’s right to medical privacy should not be infringed. We support individual freedom and privacy of individual medical records. We oppose oppression in every form, including mandated vaccination.

Americans should not be forced to choose between getting vaccinated and retaining their employment. Nor should businesses be forced to comply with a federal vaccine mandate or face steep financial penalties from some alphabet regulatory agency of the federal government.

The Biden vaccine mandate comes amidst a serious worker shortage that has impacted every sector of the economy. Overly generous and extended unemployment benefits have prevented many from returning to work, and remote schooling remains a barrier for working parents in certain parts of the country.

This summer, 1.8 million unemployed Americans reportedly turned down jobs because the federal government paid them to, and over 4 million workers haven’t returned to the labor force. The addition of a federal vaccine mandate only exacerbates these workforce challenges. It is a significant barrier in returning to an abundant and productive American workforce. Americans who have serious objections to the vaccine will be forced to walk away from their jobs. They already are.

At a time when we should be focused on strengthening our nation’s economy and increasing American competitiveness, the Biden White House is perpetuating labor shortages, supply chain issues and rising consumer costs with its misguided policies.

Big government mandates, out-of-control spending, and massive tax increases are a recipe for economic disaster. The Biden administration has mishandled the government response to COVID in ways that are prolonging unemployment and worker shortages across the economy. It is unsustainable, and yet, the Biden White House and Congressional Democrats are pressing ahead with a $5.5 trillion socialist tax-and-spend agenda that will devastate America’s economic competitiveness.

Every real Republican opposes these insidious bills and the Biden administration’s overreaching executive actions. We are fighting back in Congress — legally, peacefully and within the parameters of the Constitution. With Democrats in control of the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives, this is a difficult battle. However, we are in the fight.

My own office has been vocal against the government’s response to COVID. Since day one, we have opposed federal mandates and restrictive public health measures that injured our economy. I have introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to make vaccine mandates illegal, and we are fighting in congressional committees to get the government out of the way of America’s recovery.

While we are working to defeat the Biden legislative agenda in Congress, overreaching executive orders are being challenged in federal courts across America. We are using Article III to object. This includes a significant legal challenge to the Biden vaccine mandate. Ultimately, we believe the Supreme Court will settle this matter. Until then, we will continue to stand against this era of intrusive government interference. The American citizens we serve deserve our strong stance against the push for socialist tax-and-spend policies.

This is an ongoing battle. We will not rest. Have faith, America.

This editorial was originally published in The Daily Advertiser. Congressman Clay Higgins represents Louisiana’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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