Biden Drops The Emergency Vaccine Mandate.

In News
Mandate

Workplace mandates warranted that businesses with 100 or more employees get the COVID-19 vaccine, test regularly, and wear a mask during work hours.

In Summary

  • The Biden administration has announced that it would withdraw the emergency mandate.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision is effective Wednesday. It comes after the United States Supreme Court barred the rule from effect earlier this month.
  • The Biden administration initially announced last year that it would seek to contain the surge in coronavirus infections by enforcing stiffer workplace standards.
  • The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has lifted its mandate that employers vaccinate their workers against COVID-19.
  • 27 states objected to the mandate, maintaining that Congress never delegated authority to OSHA to issue such a mandate.
Mandate
Activist with placards protesting vaccine mandates

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it would withdraw an emergency mandate requiring major corporate employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo routine viral testing.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision, which takes effect Wednesday, comes in response to a Supreme Court ruling blocking the rule from taking effect earlier this month.

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Biden administration’s fight against the pandemic by striking down a federal mandate mandating workers to be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 — though the court did uphold a separate rule requiring vaccinations for some health care workers.

The two verdicts constituted a split victory for Republican attorneys general in Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana, and other states who sued the White House over its COVID-19 policy.

Biden expressed disappointment at the time with the court’s decision to strike down his vaccination-or-test rule and urged states and private firms to follow up where the court said federal authorities must let up.

Last year, the Biden administration initially announced that it would seek to rein down the rise in coronavirus infections by enforcing stricter workplace mandates.

The OSHA emergency mandate was one of several workplace requirements that forced enterprises with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workers received the COVID-19 vaccine or were routinely tested and wore a mask during work hours.

Fines for infractions of the mandate may have ranged from a few thousand dollars for a first offense to up to $136,000 for “willful” violations.

Mandate
A nurse pulling a syringe

Republican attorneys take a sledgehammer to Biden’s workplace vaccine mandates.

Republican attorneys general from 27 states objected to the OSHA regulation, alleging that Congress did not empower the agency to require vaccines.

Ohio, Tennessee, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Arizona, New Hampshire, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, and Louisiana were among the states that challenged the workplace mandate.

Earlier this month, a majority of the Supreme Court agreed with that position, with Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito stating, “The answer is clear: Under the statute, as it currently exists, that authority lies with the states and Congress, not OSHA.”

Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, the court’s three liberal justices, dissented, stating that COVID-19 “is a menace in work settings” and that OSHA’s emergency temporary standard falls “right in line with the agency’s mission: to ‘protect employees’ from ‘grave danger’ posed by ‘new hazards’ or exposure to harmful agents.”

President Joe Biden stated following the ruling that he would continue to advocate for businesses and states to adopt COVID-19 safety standards.

“While the Court has determined that my administration cannot use the authority granted by Congress to impose this step, that does not prevent me from using my voice as President to call for employers to do the right thing to safeguard Americans’ health and economy,” he added.

While OSHA is withdrawing the temporary emergency standard, it stated Tuesday that it will continue “prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.”

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