Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Biden’s vaccine rule temporarily blocked by an appellate court

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked a new Biden administration’s vaccine rule for large employers on Saturday.

On Friday, a group of companies sued the Occupational Safety and Health Administration seeking an injunction against the rule. A three-judge panel of the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans did not rule on the request, but ruled to overturn the vaccine rule, saying there could be “serious legislative and constitutional mandate problems.”

The court gave the Biden administration until Monday 5:00 pm to respond to a petitioner’s request for a permanent injunction that would block the rule from going into effect. The request was filed by a group of employers and Republican state attorneys general who argue the rule is unconstitutional.

The new rule is actually optional as it allows workers to get weekly testing in lieu of being vaccinated against COVID-19. OSHA has instructed employers to implement and enforce vaccination or testing programs by January 4 for their workers who have at least 100 workers. Those who fail to do so can be fined approximately $ 14,000 for “serious” violations and $ 137,000 for “willful or repeated” violations.

The Biden administration argued that a vaccination rule is the best way to protect workers who are still at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. The regulation had been in development for several months, and the lawsuit filed came as no surprise as prominent Republicans have pledged to fight it all this time.

Two of the three judges who granted residence permits on Saturday were appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated stay on twitter saying “The fight is not over yet, and I will never stop resisting this Admin’s unconstitutional actions!”

“The Biden administration argued that the vaccine rule is the best way to protect workers who are still at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19.”

The most important parts of the vaccination rule do not take effect for several weeks. Employers eligible for this rule will be required to provide disguise in the workplace by December 4, and their vaccination or testing programs will be implemented by January 4. OSHA officials explained on Thursday that they want to give employers ample time to prepare.

The White House estimates that this rule will apply to 84 million workers, although it does not apply to small employers. OSHA officials said they believed larger employers have the administrative capacity to run vaccination or testing programs, although they did not rule out extending this rule to more jobs after receiving public feedback.

Because a rule is what is called an “emergency temporary standard,” it did not go through the typical rulemaking process, which usually takes years. The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives OSHA the freedom to follow such regulations in emergencies, and agency officials say the regulation has a solid legal basis.

Jim Frederick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said during a press conference on Thursday that he expects most employers to follow the rule unhindered.

“The vast majority of jobs are OSHA-compliant,” he said.

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