St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, and Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson listen to a workforce development presentation on Friday in St. Louis County. 

(The Center Square) – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he will meet with the attorney general’s office and legislative leaders this weekend to examine all options to stop President Joe Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” plan.

“I think we're trying to figure out what all our options are, but I'm going to tell you this: All options will be on the table,” Parson said after touring the Metropolitan Employment and Training (MET) Center in St. Louis County. “As we work through it this weekend, we're going to figure out what is the stopgap to this. You know, we're not going to be the only state out here having to go through this. There's going to be many people out there trying to see what it is we can do and what the challenges will be.”

Biden Thursday night announced a six-point pandemic plan with a mandate that employers with 100 employees or more are required to ensure their workers are vaccinated or receive weekly tests for COVID-19. Vaccinations also will be required for all federal workers and contractors. Health care workers in Medicare- and Medicaid-funded hospitals and other health care settings will be required to be vaccinated.

The plan calls for states to adopt vaccine requirements for all school employees. Biden’s plan encourages parents to have their children vaccinated. Parson predicted Biden will soon mandate vaccinations for school children.

“Can a president of the United States really go out there and take your kid and say, 'I want to put a vaccine in your arm if you’re over 12 years old if you want to go to school?'" Parson asked. “I do not think he has the right to do that whatsoever. I think that is total overreaching of the government to be able to do that. I don't think anybody in Missouri – wherever the problem is – is going to want that done without the parents having a say in what happens to their children.”

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat who is being sued by Attorney General Eric Schmitt for imposing a mask mandate contrary to a new state law, also toured the MET with Parson. Page, an anesthesiologist, praised the Biden’s aggressive approach.

“He’s assertive and taking big, bold steps,” Page said. “He's got a plan and he's executing it on a timeline. We see with his instructions to the Department of Justice to look at some of the anti-masking policies in some states. We understand masks are what keep kids in school and keeps them in an in-person learning environment. We've seen this step with vaccines. It’s bold and it's what needs to happen to keep our economy on track, to keep people in their jobs and keep kids in school.”

Parson wan't specific as to how the state would fight the federal plan.

“The one thing I don't think you want to do is act too quickly and do something wrong,” Parson said. “You want to take your time and make sure you get it right, to know how we are going to push back and how we are going to stop this. Because I'm just telling you, it’s not going to work in Missouri. It won't happen.”

Parson’s office sent a media release late Friday afternoon vowing a legal fight and stating Biden’s plan was “to divert attention from his failures” in Afghanistan, the southern border and with inflation.

“When President Biden should be focused on protecting our troops and securing our borders, he has instead decided to inject himself into the private lives and business dealings of hard-working Missourians," House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, said in a statement released by the governor's office. "This is an obvious attempt by the President to shift attention away from his failures in Afghanistan, where his disastrous withdrawal left American citizens behind. We in the Missouri House of Representatives will not stand for it, and we will do everything in our power to protect the personal liberties of Missourians."

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, criticized the economic impact of the plan.

“As a small business owner who would be subjugated to President Biden's unconstitutional mandate, I, nor the Missouri Senate, will stand idly by and allow this inexcusable power grab to harm Missourians," Schatz said in the governor’s statement. "What the Biden Administration is attempting to do will only worsen the workforce shortages businesses across the country are facing and is an absolute affront to our American freedoms."

Staff Reporter

Joe Mueller covers Missouri for The Center Square. After seven years of reporting for daily newspapers in Illinois and Missouri, he spent the next 30 years in public relations serving non-profit organizations and as a strategic communications consultant.