- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced a bill that would let workers sue the government in federal court over vaccine mandates if the shots had hurt them.

Republican Rep. Diana Harshbarger said her Protecting Americans’ Medical Rights Act would permit civil action in such cases against any level of government — federal, state or local — that imposes a vaccine mandate that affects employment.

“The Biden Administration’s unconstitutional mandates forced many Americans to choose between their job or getting vaccinated. While this is wrong and never should have happened, those forced into vaccination should have full rights to pursue legal action if they are injured,” she said in a statement, according to a report on TV station WJHL in Johnson City, Tennessee.

This bill “is a step in the right direction towards holding this administration and our government accountable,” she said.

According to the bill, those who suffer side effects from the vaccine “generally have minimal and restricted compensation recourse.”

Current law forbids lawsuits against the government for damages from the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CPIP) is an administrative program with no right to appeal or the ability to collect attorneys’ fees. There is a statute of limitations to file a claim and compensation also is often capped.

Under the bill’s provisions, a person who had an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine — which is rare, but does happen as with all vaccines — can sue for both relief and compensatory damages, as well as recoup attorneys’ fees if successful.

The Supreme Court struck down an OSHA rule that required workers at businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. However, the justices let stand a vaccine mandate covering most health care workers in the U.S.

Seven other House Republicans are co-sponsoring the bill — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Bill Posey of Florida, Doug LaMalfa of California, Randy Weber and Brian Babin of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Yvette Herrell of New Mexico.

“The Left forced Americans into medical procedures against their will and simultaneously restricted their right to sue for injuries,” said Mr. Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “It’s unacceptable. If vaccine mandates are ethical, why do they require a legal carveout? The Protecting Americans’ Medical Rights Act will give Americans hurt by a medical decision they were forced into a real, substantive legal recourse.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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