A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to President Biden’s vaccine mandate on larger private businesses, but the White House is telling businesses to move ahead with the plan anyway.
Article by Art Moore from our news partners WND News Center.
“People should not wait,” Biden Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House briefing Monday.
“What we continue to advocate from here is to push businesses to move forward with their policies now.”
She described the mandate as “an obligation that the Department of Labor has to protect workers who face grave danger.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ordered a temporary halt on Saturday, ruling the complaint gives “cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”
President Biden on Sept. 9 announced the requirement that businesses with 100 or more employees ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated or submit weekly a negative COVID test to enter the workplace.
The pause has been requested by several companies as well as Republican attorneys general in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.
The complaint against the federal government contends the mandates are an unconstitutional delegation of power to the executive branch by Congress, exceeding the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which will enforce the requirements.
The Biden administration has delayed the deadline for compliance until Jan. 4 and argued the pause is “premature” and “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”
David Vladeck, a professor of law at Georgetown University, told CNBC he believes there’s a “high probability” that the case will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“There are justices on the court who want to rein in the administrative state, and this is a case in which those concerns are likely to come to the fore,” Vladeck said.
OSHA, which polices workplace safety for the Labor Department, developed the vaccine and testing requirements under emergency authority established by Congress. That authority allows the agency to shortcut the process to issue workplace safety standards, which normally takes years.
The Labor Department’s top lawyer, Seema Nanda, argued the law “explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them.”
She insisted the vaccine and testing requirements supersede “any state or local requirements that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, face-covering, or testing.”
Republicans ‘getting in the way’
Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas issued executive orders last month banning vaccine mandates in their states.
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At the White House on Monday, Jean-Pierre asked why Republicans “are getting in the way of saving lives, getting in the way of us making sure that the economy is working well and getting out of this pandemic.”
DeSantis, at a news conference Monday, pointed out that President Biden and his top health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said many months ago that there would be no vaccine mandates and the federal government didn’t have authority to impose them.
No one should be losing their jobs over “these jabs,” the governor said, vowing to protect workers against “heavy-handed mandates.”
“We have got to stand up for people and protect their jobs and livelihoods,” said DeSantis. “It’s wrong to kick people out of work. It’s wrong to micromanage business like that.”
He said that in a special session of the Florida legislature that he has called, lawmakers will introduce bills to strengthen workers’ and parents’ rights.
But he expects that “no Democrat will help any of these workers.”
See DeSantis’ remarks:
Image by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.