OSHA backs down from enforcing Biden vaccine mandate

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspended the enforcement of the Biden vaccine mandate on private businesses late last week after a federal appeals court upheld a stay on the mandate. 

OSHA said that it is confident in its power to protect workers amid the pandemic, but needs to suspend activities related to the mandate until the litigation is settled.

“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS [Emergency Temporary Standard] ‘until further court order,” OSHA said.

The Biden administration announced the mandate in September, and OSHA released its final verson of the rule last week with a deadline of January 4 to implement the rule.

“Fatally flawed”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate was “fatally flawed” and ordered that OSHA not enforce the requirement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for a permanent injunction.

Employers with more than 100 workers were tasked with enforcing the vaccination or weekly testing of their workers, or face steep fines of up to $14,000 per violation.

The delay prevents some companies like conservative media company Daily Wire, whose CEO Jeremy Boreing previously said that it would not comply with the mandate, from having to worry about consequesces from the government.

The injunction came about when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah and South Carolina, filed a lawsuit against the administration over the vaccine mandate in October and asked for a preliminary injunction as well as for the court to declare the mandate unlawful.

White House wants mandate enforced

Dozens of state attorneys general and other groups have also filed lawsuits against the mandate.

Even so, the White House made it clear that they want businesses to enforce the mandate even though they can’t officially do force them to do it.

“We think people should not wait. We say: Do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters after the ruling.

“We’re trying to get past this pandemic, and we know the way to do that is to get people vaccinated,” she added.

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