H. R. 6811
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 22, 2022
Mrs. Harshbarger (for herself, Mr. Banks, Mr. Posey, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Babin, Mr. Norman, and Ms. Herrell) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To permit civil actions against the United States or any State or local government entity for COVID–19 vaccination mandates.
This Act may be cited as the
Protecting Americans’ Medical Rights Act.
The Congress finds the following:
Government-imposed COVID–19 vaccine mandates that threaten Americans’ jobs and livelihoods are authoritarian, unnecessary, overreaching, irrational, and needlessly divisive, and lack a purported scientific basis for public health needs.
The policy of the United States is to recognize, defend, and protect the inherent rights of the individual, including the right of liberty, the right to be secure in one’s person, the right of the individual to be informed about any medical procedures, treatment, or vaccination, and the right of the individual to provide or withhold consent to such procedures, treatment, or vaccination.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm that while COVID–19 vaccination can lessen the severity of illness for individuals in certain higher risk categories, it DOES NOT preclude Americans from contracting, spreading, or being hospitalized by the COVID–19 virus.
As a medical matter, the COVID–19 vaccine may not be appropriate for everyone. Because of potential risks that COVID–19 vaccines may pose to certain people, it is important that every patient be able to consult his or her doctor or other medical health care provider to determine whether one of the COVID–19 vaccines is safe and appropriate.
A significant body of peer-reviewed scientific studies concludes that COVID–19 vaccines are among a wide range of clinical public health tools available and accessible to Americans for mitigating the effects of the COVID–19 virus.
Other scientifically confirmed clinical safeguard tools for mitigating and protecting against COVID–19 include—
the durable and lasting protection of natural immunity from previous COVID–19 infection;
therapeutics, including oral antiviral medications;
air filtration or purification systems;
choosing to wear masks, shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPE);
remote work settings; and
Wise and constitutionally permissible government policies aimed at mitigating adverse public health effects from COVID–19 must be based on clear and consistent scientific evidence, while respecting the fundamental individual liberties and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. Such policies must also seek the path or combinations of paths that least infringe on individual liberties to achieve public health gains.
Due in large part to the vacillating, arbitrary, inconsistent, and at times nontransparent and scientifically tenuous COVID–19 guidances issued by the CDC and other government agencies, Americans may have legitimate questions, concerns, and confusion about what best serves their medical needs with respect to the COVID–19 virus.
Americans holding such legitimate questions and concerns—or being opposed to COVID–19 vaccine mandates—DOES NOT equate to their being
antiscience. It is altogether and entirely consistent for Americans to be
provaccine for what makes sense for their and their family’s personal health needs in consultation with their board-certified physician or other health care provider, and also be
To date, there is no scientific data to suggest employment settings pose any increased or special risk for COVID–19 transmission among individuals, as compared to home, social, or other gatherings.
The protection of individual rights to make one’s own medical decisions in consultation with one’s health care provider—without fear of coercion, forced vaccination, loss of civil liberties, or risk of adverse employment action—is especially needed at a time when it is critical for the Nation to increase trust in public health officials. Protection of these individual rights is also vital for encouraging, where and when medically appropriate, vaccination or other scientific measures for keeping Americans safe and healthy.
Under current law, Americans who sustain adverse health effects or injuries resulting from COVID–19 vaccination generally have minimal and restricted compensation recourses. They are generally confined to the notoriously stingy Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).
The CICP is managed through an administrative process, where there is no court, judge, or right to appeal. Decisions about compensation are made in a figurative black hole by a nameless administrator. Compensation for lost wages and death benefits are arbitrarily capped, there is no opportunity for collecting damages for pain and suffering, and there is only a one-year statutory limit for making a claim. In addition, there is no compensation for attorney fees, which makes it extremely difficult for vaccine-injured Americans to find counsel willing to represent them.
Since the advent of the COVID–19 vaccines and as of February 1, 2022, there have been NO compensation awards issued by the CICP for COVID–19 vaccine injury claims.
The United States constitutional structure demands measures of accountability for government actions that infringe individual liberties and could cause harm. If Congress or the courts fail to nullify, overturn, or invalidate unnecessary, authoritarian, and overreaching COVID–19 vaccine mandates that threaten the loss of employment for noncompliance, Americans oppressed by such mandates and coerced into vaccination should be able to hold governments accountable. They should have full and unfettered access to legal recourses for any adverse health effects or injuries sustained from such COVID–19 vaccine mandates. This should include the right to bring civil actions for declaratory or injunctive relief, or monetary compensatory damages, including economic and noneconomic damages, against Federal, State, and local government entities that impose such mandates.
It is well-established that Congress’ power under article I, section 8, clause 1 of the Constitution, also known as the Spending Clause, includes the power to require the States to abide by certain conditions in exchange for receiving Federal financial assistance. The Supreme Court has explained that one such lawful condition may be States voluntarily waiving their sovereign immunity from suit (under the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution or otherwise). South Dakota v. Dole (483 U.S. 203 (1987)); College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board (527 U.S. 666 (1999)).
Such a conditional waiver does not coerce a State. The Supreme Court has explicitly recognized that when Congress expresses a funding condition
unambiguously, a State’s acceptance of Federal funds constitutes a knowing agreement to a congressionally imposed condition on the funds. Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman (451 U.S. 1, 17 (1981)). Accordingly, while Congress may not compel States to waive their sovereign immunity, a voluntary State waiver is wholly permissible. Alden v. Maine (527 U.S. 706 (1999)).
This Act protects Americans’ constitutional medical rights by ensuring that individuals subject to a scientifically tenuous
Hobson’s Choice of employment-threatening COVID–19 vaccine mandate, where they feel forced into vaccination against their will, are able to seek equitable and appropriate legal remedies for any COVID–19 vaccine injuries, remedies that are extremely limited or disallowed under current law.
This Act further protects Americans’ constitutional medical rights by holding Federal, State, and local governments accountable for unnecessary, irrational, overreaching, and liberty-infringing COVID–19 vaccine mandates, when many other scientifically proven, and less liberty-intrusive, tools exist for mitigating the effects of and protecting against COVID–19.
In this Act:
The term aggrieved individual includes—
an individual who received or is required to receive a COVID–19 vaccine as a result of Executive Order 14042 or 14043 to prevent the termination, or any other adverse consequence, of the employment of the individual with a Federal agency, or as a condition of new employment;
an individual who received a COVID–19 vaccine as a result of a Federal agency requirement (or is required to do so by the individual’s employer acting pursuant to a Federal agency requirement) as a condition of new or continued employment, including a COVID–19 vaccine requirement resulting from—
the rule titled
COVID–19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402 et seq.); or
the rule titled
Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID–19 Health Care Staff Vaccination published November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61555 et seq.); and
an individual who received or is required to receive a COVID–19 vaccine as a result of a State or local governmental requirement, or by their employer that is acting pursuant to a State or local governmental requirement, as a condition of new or continued employment.
The term COVID–19 vaccine means a vaccine that is intended to prevent or mitigate coronavirus disease 2019, including any booster to such a vaccine.
The term Federal agency means any department, agency, office, or other entity in the executive branch of the Federal Government.
The term injuries includes any adverse health effects, reactions, and other adverse health consequences, including incapacity or wrongful death, resulting from COVID–19 vaccination.
Civil actions against the United States or any State or local government entity for COVID–19 vaccination mandates
In lieu of seeking compensation under sections 319F–3 and 319F–4 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d–6d, 247d–6e), any aggrieved individual, or in the case of a deceased aggrieved individual his or her survivors, may commence an action against the United States, or against any State or local governmental entity, whichever imposed the applicable requirements, in an appropriate district court of the United States, seeking declaratory or injunctive relief and compensatory damages, including economic and noneconomic damages, for injuries sustained by the aggrieved individual as a result of receiving a COVID–19 vaccine.
The United States and any State or local governmental entity, whichever imposed the applicable requirements, shall be liable to any aggrieved individual, or in the case of a deceased aggrieved individual his or her survivors, for injuries sustained by the aggrieved individual as a result of receiving a COVID–19 vaccine.
The court may award attorney’s fees to an aggrieved individual who prevails in an action under this section (or to his or her survivors who so prevail if applicable).
Voluntary waiver of State and local sovereign immunity as condition of receiving any Federal funding related to COVID–19
The receipt or use, on or after the date of enactment of this Act, of any Federal funding related to COVID–19 by a State or political subdivision of a State (including any municipal or county government) is deemed to constitute a clear and unequivocal expression of, and agreement to, waiving sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution or otherwise, to a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees under section 4.
Rule of construction
Nothing in this Act may be construed to permit or otherwise authorize a COVID–19 vaccination mandate under Federal law (including any regulation).