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Federal judge in Texas rules against mask, vaccine mandates for Head Start programs

"Texas just beat Biden again," said Gov. Greg Abbott.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas leaders on Friday secured another win against Biden administration mask and vaccine mandates.

A judge in the U.S. District Court - Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, ruled for a halt in the conditions for funding for Head Start programs, which provide education-related services to low-income children. That includes for Head Start staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and near-universal masking for both children and adults.

According to the ruling, Texas leaders argue that the Act "does not authorize such mandates, that irreparable injury would result from them that [the Department of Health and Human Services] failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act in adopting the conditions, and that the mandates violate various Constitutional doctrines."

The court found that there is a likelihood that these mandates do not fit within the Head Start Act's authorization and that the mandates are "arbitrary and capricious," so it has preliminarily enjoined their enforcement across the state.

"Texas just beat Biden again," Gov. Abbott said Friday. "Another of Biden’s vaccine and mask mandates was just halted by a federal judge in Texas. The Court writes: 'It is undisputed that an agency cannot act without Congressional authorization.' That would apply to all of Biden’s orders."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a lawsuit regarding these mandates earlier this month. He also chimed in on the court's ruling Friday evening.

"I just halted another illegal fed vax & mask mandate," he said in a tweet. "Thanks to my suit(first of its kind in the nation), Prez Brandon is barred from using the Head Start Program to force vax & masks in TX—both of which this Admin embarrassingly admitted don’t stop Covid anyway! HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

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