OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, Chair of the House State's Rights Committee, today sent a letter in response to comments made this week by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki concerning the Biden Administration’s plan to get more Americans vaccinated, including through a door-to-door outreach program. The full text of the letter can be seen below.
To the Great People of the State of Oklahoma,
In her July 6, 2021, press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki presented the Biden Administration’s plan to get more Americans vaccinated, which includes a strategic door-to-door outreach program, an effort that is of serious concern to multiple constituents in the district I represent, other fellow Oklahomans, and myself.
Press Secretary Psaki stated, “The President will outline five areas his team is focused on to get more Americans vaccinated.
“One: targeted, community-by-community, door-to-door outreach to get remaining Americans vaccinated by ensuring they have the information they need on how both safe and accessible the vaccine is.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra made the statement, July 8, 20201, that it is “absolutely the government’s business” to know which Americans have not taken the coronavirus vaccine - another extremely invasive and dangerous assertion manufactured by the Biden administration.
I contend that these types of actions and assertions from the federal government are not just overreaching, but violate multiple provisions of the U.S. Constitution. First, the enumerated powers delegated in Article I, Section 8; the right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects as found in the Fourth Amendment; as well as the vertical separation of powers prescribed in the Tenth Amendment.
James Madison once stated, “The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the state.” Simply put, it is NOT within the federal government’s purview to know the vaccination status of individual Americans, nor is it appropriate for the federal government to enact intrusive measures such as “community-to-community, door-to-door” vaccine “education” efforts.
House Bill 1236, which was introduced and passed overwhelmingly by the Republican majority-led Oklahoma Legislature this spring and signed into law by the governor on May 25, 2021, asserts the reserved state powers mentioned in the Tenth Amendment. This sends a clear message to the federal government of our intention to maintain the balance of powers and to protect the rights of all Oklahomans. One such reserved power of the state is to manage within its own boundaries “pandemics and health emergencies,” as enumerated in HB 1236.
The door-to-door efforts suggested this week by the Biden administration are inappropriate and will not be welcomed in the State of Oklahoma.
Jay W. Steagall
Chairman, State’s Rights Committee