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Several Republican U.S. senators have introduced a bill in an attempt to keep unvaccinated Americans from being fired.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., joined U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — the author of the bill — and several other Republican senators Tuesday to introduce the “Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act” in an effort to prevent unvaccinated essential workers from getting fired due to President Joe Biden’s September action mandating that employers with more than 100 employees require their employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, according to a news release.

“Essential workers have honorably served in hospitals, public safety, schools and more throughout the pandemic, but now their livelihoods are threatened because of their vaccination status,” Inhofe said in a press release.

“I am proud to cosponsor the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act so that hardworking men and women can continue serving in Oklahoma and around the nation without the fear of being fired because of the Biden administration’s heavy-handed, out-of-touch national mandate.”

The bill was also introduced by U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Tommy Tuberville, R- Ala., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

According to the news release, the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act has been endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Border Patrol Council, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.

Larry Cosme, national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the vaccine mandate “completely disregards” past service unvaccinated essential workers performed during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“At a time when our nation needs its law enforcement officers, health care workers, teachers, and other first responders due to staffing shortages and ongoing national emergencies, terminating these dedicated employees doesn’t build America back better,” Cosme said.

Biden’s vaccine requirement is in place for as many as 100 million American private-sector employees, health care workers and federal contractors.

In announcing the mandate on Sept. 9, Biden called the current situation “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and said “it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot.”

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Oct. 14, 2021 video. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says he does not support requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.

This article originally ran on tulsaworld.com.

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