TRENTON – U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew said he is drafting legislation that would prevent any entity from imposing “authoritarian” vaccine mandates.

Text of the bill wasn’t shared, and it isn’t clear when it will be introduced.

“President Biden's outrageous vaccine mandates are putting our first responders, firefighters and police officers, who did not have the opportunity to work remote during the pandemic, at risk of losing their jobs,” said Van Drew, R-N.J.

“President Biden and his administration continuously look down upon and publicly attack those that wish to have control over their personal health choices,” he said. “He is overreaching the powers granted to him by the Constitution and the American people, which is not the America I know and love.”

Van Drew was elected to Congress in 2018 as a Democrat but announced he would switch parties in late 2019, at the time the House impeached President Donald Trump for the first time. Trump held a rally in Wildwood to thank Van Drew, who pledged “undying support” for the president.

Over the weekend, Trump called for primary challenges to 10 House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed late last week, including U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

Van Drew also voted for the bill but was among three House Republicans not targeted by Trump for supporting it. Van Drew also announced he will vote against separate legislation providing 10 years of spending on programs addressing child care, climate change and other topics.

While Trump spared Van Drew, others were less willing to give him a pass.

Van Drew said current challenges facing the economy are a result of vaccine mandates.

“The rippling effects from these vaccine mandates have resulted in one of the most severe supply chain crisis and labor shortages this country has ever seen,” he said. “Vaccine mandates, despite outpouring backlash from millions of Americans and a lack of consideration from this administration for natural immunity, will only exacerbate this issue.

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“My bill will ensure that Americans' right to make their own public health choices stays intact and employers will not be able to force their employees to inject themselves with the COVID-19 vaccination,” Van Drew said.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at

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