Jack Whitver. (Iowa PBS photo)

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the federal vaccine mandate for health care workers likely closed the door on efforts at the state level to counter that edict.

“The question is what can the legislature do at the state level? These are federal laws,” Whitver says, “and the preemption clause will override a lot of what we do.”

Whitver says that means it will take an act of congress to override the Biden Administration’s order that health care workers get fully vaccinated against Covid.

“It’s really an issue that needs to be solved at the federal level rather than at the state level,” Whitver says.

A group of House Republicans are working on a bill that in its present form would forbid employers from asking if workers are vaccinated. In October, the Iowa legislature passed a law that ensures health care workers may file for unemployment benefits if they’ve had a religious or medical exemption request denied by their employer.

“We passed our bill during the special session, to try to address some of that, to make sure some of those exemptions are in place,” Whitver says, “but a lot of what we said is that the Supreme Court is going to have to decide a lot of this, and they have – for the most part, and have thrown out some of those mandates.”

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Biden Administration’s Covid vaccine mandate for private sector workers in businesses with 100 or more employees. Whitver made his comments during taping of “Iowa Press” which airs tonight on Iowa PBS.