LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (TUSEN) – As the omicron variant rages and fills hospital beds across the country, Republican governors are highlighting their opposition to the restrictions that have marked the COVID-19 pandemic even as they seek to overcome it and to define their agendas for the year.
State of State is reaching out to governors to kick off state legislative sessions as COVID-19 hospitalizations peak since pandemic began in 2020 and spike in infections is apparently disrupting all aspects of life, from schools to traveling.
Republican governors are using the speeches to denounce the Biden administration’s response and to tout their opposition to mandates and lockdowns they say have not worked to stem the virus.
“These unprecedented policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is considering a possible presidential run in 2024, as he frisked Dr.Anthony Fauci, the world’s greatest government expert on infectious diseases. “They are based more on blind adherence to Faucian statements than they are in constitutional traditions.”
Another potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, has pledged to push for legislation that she says would protect medical or religious exemptions from health requirements. vaccines. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration’s rule requiring workers at large companies to get vaccinated or tested, but maintained a similar requirement for most healthcare workers.
“Unvaccinated Americans are still Americans,” Noem said.
In Arizona, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey complained about the “COVID-era attitudes and policies of some school board bureaucrats.”
“There has been too much attention to masks and not enough to math,” Ducey said.
The GOP’s largesse against virus restrictions comes as governors on both sides have shown little appetite for widespread public orders, school closings or business closings. But Democratic governors are highlighting the omicron threat as they seek an injection of public funds to deal with the surge in cases.
In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has asked the legislature for $ 2.7 billion to expand testing and increase hospital staff as the state faces a wave of new patients. Things are so urgent, Newsom said, that he wants lawmakers to give him permission to spend $ 1.4 billion of that money immediately instead of waiting for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
“Where are we? Where are we going? And when is this thing behind us now? No one can answer the last part of this,” Newsom said. “We are all humbled by this pandemic.”
Another Democrat, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, has proposed a $ 10 billion plan to increase the state’s healthcare workforce by 20% over the next five years, after the sector suffers rates high burnout during the pandemic.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was re-elected last year, has announced he is reinstating a public health emergency he declared due to the pandemic. Murphy said the order was primarily to maintain a mask warrant in schools and daycares. It also preserves a testing or vaccination requirement for government officials and health care workers.
“We’re all in this. And we have to keep moving forward together,” Murphy said. “But try to step back and divide us more, one thing’s for sure. Omicron didn’t knock us down.
Democratic Governor Laura Kelly has called on the predominantly Republican Kansas legislature to stay in place thanks to orders she issued in March that relax state licensing requirements for medical staff and nursing home workers nurses. She also called for a tuition freeze, arguing it would help students affected by the pandemic.
“Everywhere in our state, ordinary people continue to do amazing things,” Kelly said. “The Kansas spirit of neighbor helping neighbor has never been stronger.”
Even though they protest against vaccine requirements, some Republican governors are still urging refractories in their state to get vaccinated.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, I encourage you, I beg you to speak with your doctor and do so,” said Republican Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb. “I say this, even if you do not agree with all the positions I have taken. I want us both to be here to continue these disagreements.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has canceled his scheduled appearance before lawmakers to deliver his state-of-the-state speech after testing positive for COVID-19. But the Republican governor still gave a written speech read by a clerk.
While stressing his opposition to vaccine requirements, Justice praised the state’s incentive package which included prizes throughout 2021 to residents who have been vaccinated. Earlier this month, justice asked the federal government to allow West Virginia to begin offering a fourth dose of the vaccine to some at-risk residents four months after their first booster.
“We will continue to be light in the dark, until this pandemic is behind us once and for all,” Justice said.
The US Express News editors Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Adam Beam in Sacramento, California; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Michael Catalini in Newark, NJ; John Raby in Charleston, W.Va., Stephen Groves in Pierre, SD; Bob Christie and Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix; Tom Davies in Indianapolis; and Marina Villeneuve in Albany, NY contributed to this report.