Republican Rep. Steve Holt spoke out on vaccine mandates on Thursday night. Holt said he ran for office after concluding that “freedom and liberty were under attack by out-of-control government.”
“And those who felt the people were too stupid to make their own decisions,” Holt said. “And after being reminded of Reagan’s warning that when government expands, liberty contracts. FREEDOM WATCH seemed just right as the name of my newsletter and periodic video programs.”
Holt said he has had “many sleepless nights” thinking about the faces behind the hundreds of emails, voice messages and text messages he’s received from Iowans who are fearful for their future.
“In many cases, good people are being put on unpaid leave by businesses for refusing the COVID vaccine, which will render them ineligible for unemployment,” Holt said. “A further slap in the face and assault on their rights as free men and women. Make no mistake about it, as deeply upset as I have been by what these good people are going through, that pales in comparison to the stress of facing such a horrific decision.”
Holt said his original concept on the vaccine passport bill passed earlier this year was to allow no mandate of the vaccine to anyone.
That bill was silent when it came to employees.
“It was silent because at the time we did not have the votes to do more than what we did,” Holt said. “My original concept was to allow no mandate of the vaccine to anyone, but we could not get there. While this legislation has been effective in some ways, I know that many felt it did not go far enough, and clearly, based on where we are today, that is correct — it did not. The enforcement mechanisms were not strong enough.
“For the shortcomings of this legislation, as floor manager, I take responsibility.”
Holt previously said his hope was the free market would take care of vaccine mandates. While he still believes that is a possible solution, he recognizes the federal government’s coercion has intimidated businesses to require the jab.
“Vaccine mandates cannot be considered in a vacuum; indeed, they must be viewed through the prism of the greater assault on our values and way of life that is taking place as I speak,” he said. “The President of the United States threatens moms and dads in America for daring to stand up against the insanity of Critical Race Theory and mask mandates in our schools, weaponizing the Department of Justice and FBI against them, this as he negotiates and gives credibility on the world stage to the Taliban, a despicable group of terrorist thugs that have murdered thousands of people and are continuing to do so in the void we left in Afghanistan.”
Holt acknowledged legislators failed on Oct. 5 because it did not address the vaccine mandate issue. But he is hopeful fellow legislators do something on Oct. 28.
“I am asking the leadership of the House and Senate to make our oath to defend the Constitution, which really means safeguarding the God-given rights of our citizens for which the Constitution was created, at least as important as the constitutional requirement to do redistricting,” he said. “I am asking that we come together and pass effective legislation to protect our fellow citizens’ rights to make their own medical decision on whether to take the COVID vaccine.”
Holt warned any potential legislation would likely head to court.
“Whatever we pass will not be the silver bullet or the whole solution in this struggle,” he said. “But that does not mean we should not take decisive action. I believe we must fight back on all fronts — by passing effective legislation and defending it against court challenge, by challenging in court Biden’s OSHA mandates that businesses with over 100 employees must require the vaccine and by challenging CMS rules requiring that medical facilities mandate the vaccine for all workers or face the loss of billions of dollars in funding.”
Holt clarified it is not about being “anti-vaccine.”
“It is about the right of free men and women to be able to make their own health care choices and still be able to have a job, travel and function normally in our society,” he said. “The freedom-loving caucus I belong to has taken many a stand for liberty and it is imperative that we do so again. We need to stop COVID vaccine mandates, and we need to do it during special session on Oct. 28. We need to stay in session as long as it takes to get this done.”