Cornyn, Doggett react to Abbott's order against vaccine mandates

Senator John Cornyn was on the ACC Highlands campus Tuesday to talk about education programs designed to help Hispanic students. He indicated it is an example of how good policy decisions can make a difference in lives.

"We're not perfect, but we're leading the country in terms of folks wanting to come here to pursue their dreams, get a good education, get a good job, and pursue your dreams. And to me, that's worth fighting for," said Sen Cornyn (R) Texas.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett was also in Austin Tuesday. He toured a domestic hotline promoting a new pilot program to enhance help from the hotline.

"When someone is calling on the brink of violence or someone is calling after having committed violence this is a chance to do something about it. This won't solve all of the problems but it will be another tool," said Rep. Doggett (D) Texas.

The two senior members of Congress also responded to the escalating political fight over vaccinations. On Monday, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order against any entity from requiring employees or customers to be vaccinated.

"Obviously, some people are resistant if they feel like the government's ordering them to do something. We don't want to be counterproductive and get people to not get vaccinated because they feel like they're somehow they're giving up some of their freedom and liberty," said Cornyn.

The order is in reaction to President Joe Biden's order last month. Biden's mandate requires all employers with more than 100 workers to have them vaccinated or tested weekly.

"This is a real overreach what he (Governor Abbott) has done this week and he's clearly looking for a confrontation with the federal government. I think we're he not in competition with Governor DeSantis to see who is the Trumpiest, we would not have to endure this," said Doggett.

Governor Abbott did join President Biden in stating the vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus. But he added the decision to get a vaccine should remain voluntary and never be forced. 

Tuesday, White House Spokesperson Jenn Psaki ridiculed the Governor's reasoning.

"Governor Abbott knows that federal rules supersede state rules, so why do you think he did these politics? Can you elaborate? Well, I think it's pretty clear when you make a choice that's against all public health information and data out there that it's not based on what is in the interests of the people you are governing. It's perhaps in the interests of your own politics," said Psaki.

Unlike the president's mandate, the governor is asking the legislative branch to weigh in. The ban against any COVID-19 vaccine mandate is now part of the special session call.

"I'd like it to be dependent on good medical science and the rejection of medical science and medical experts including the governor's own medical experts is what has led us to this situation," said Doggett.

Wednesday afternoon at the Texas capitol, the House State Affairs Committee will consider the vaccination exemption bill.  HB155 would allow people to opt-out of a vaccination mandate to work or get services. 

The proposal is based on three things: a person has immunity after recovery from COVID. A medical condition or a reason of conscience like a religious belief.

"Well, I think I think he (Governor Abbott) can use his bully pulpit to ask, and the question remains whether what the legislature will do in terms of actually legally mandating it. And then what usually happens in this situation is then somebody files a lawsuit and it goes to court. So that's maybe where this will finally get decided," said Cornyn.

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