Republicans push back, vow fight after Biden’s vaccine mandate drops

Republicans and conservatives vow to fight President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the rule on Thursday.

According to reports, the mandate applies to businesses with 100 or more employees, though the administration has yet to explain how it arrived at that number of workers. Employees will have until Jan. 4 to become fully vaccinated or else their companies face fines of $14,000 per worker. Also, those who are not vaccinated must be tested at least once per week as a condition of continued employment.

The administration claimed that it is on solid legal and constitutional footing in issuing the rule that is expected to cover more than 84 million private-sector workers, but Republicans and conservative groups vowed to fight it in court anyway, while others warned the mandate will further disrupt an already fragile economy fraught with labor shortages and inflation.

The Hill quoted senior administration officials who say that OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) provision underpinning the mandate is “well within OSHA’s authority under the law and consistent with OSHA’s requirements to protect workers from health and safety hazards, including infectious diseases.”

They also said there is a “well-established legal precedent” for OSHA to issue the rule under its “broad authority” to enforce health and safety standards in the workplace.

“OSHA plans to have programed or planned inspections, where agents go into workplaces to check that the workplace is in compliance with the rule. For what OSHA refers to as willful violations, a company can be fined $136,532,” The Hill added.

Shortly after Biden announced the mandate in September, several GOP-led states vowed to sue in order to block it.

“Our economy is crumbling, and President Biden is doing everything in his power to make it worse,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in a statement.

“While businesses scramble to fill the 10.4 million open jobs in our country, Biden’s vaccine mandate will push even more Americans out of the workforce,” she added.

“No American should be forced to choose between putting food on their tables or receiving a vaccine,” GOP Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia told the Daily Mail.

“OSHA rule far exceeds the boundaries of executive authority,” added Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.)

“President Biden has made the decision to render our constitutional guardrails completely irrelevant,” she further noted. “It is truly the point of no return for this Administration, and the rule will further exacerbate an already disastrous labor crisis.”

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate is government overreach. Our nation is already facing a workforce shortage, and this mandate will exacerbate this situation while also infringing on the rights of Americans,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said in a tweet accompanying a video.

“We will fight this authoritarian bulls**t. We have already filed a federal lawsuit this morning,” the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro noted.

“Keep in mind that the OSHA rule coming out is not a mandate for a vaccine. Employers can put in a mandatory vaccination program, or there’s the other route of vaccination for those who choose to and testing and masks for those other employees that don’t,” an official told The Hill.

The rule forces employers to come up with and implement a mandatory vaccine policy “unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or test once a week and wear a face covering at work,” The Hill added.

Some Republicans noted that the administration went ahead with the rule in spite of key Democratic electoral losses on Tuesday, which some believe was due in large part to national policies the party is pursuing including regarding the pandemic.

“Despite the Democrats’ shellacking this week, the Biden administration is pressing on with their unconstitutional mandate requiring private businesses to mandate vaccination to avoid fines up to one million dollars,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told the Daily Mail.

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