The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended all implementation and enforcement efforts of a mandatory vaccine for large businesses following a federal appeals court decision to uphold a stay on the mandate.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this month, responding to a petition filed by the Texas Attorney General, businesses, and several other states, temporarily blocked the administration’s coronavirus mandate, suggesting it raises “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”
The Biden administration responded with claims that pausing the requirements “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day” if vaccinations are delayed.
The federal court wasn’t convinced, upholding the stay and calling it “staggeringly overbroad.”
OSHA’s hand had been forced.
OSHA cited the court ruling in a statement on their website.
“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS [Emergency Temporary Standard] ‘until further court order,'” they explained.
Still, the agency expressed its belief that they have the authority to implement a federal vaccine mandate even as they relented.
“While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation,” the statement reads.
The Department of Justice insists they will “vigorously defend” the rules laid out in the vaccine mandate in which businesses are facing fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
It has been set to hit companies with more than 100 employees on January 4th.
Over 30 cases have been filed against the order which will now head to the 6th Circuit Appeals Court in Cincinnati.
The OSHA statement reflects a change of attitude for the Biden administration – albeit, likely a temporary one.
Just last week, the White House encouraged businesses to ignore the federal court’s halt on the vaccine mandate, saying they should continue to abide by the order despite the legal ruling.
“People should not wait,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Jean-Pierre. “They should continue to move forward and make sure they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”
Additionally, reports surfaced that the Biden administration planned to lean on whistleblowers in an effort to enforce its new vaccine mandate.
“They’re going to rely on workers and their union representatives to file complaints where the company is totally flouting the law,” said Debbie Berkowitz, an adviser at OSHA during the Obama administration.
Florida lawmakers have been so disgusted by the OSHA overreach that they are seriously considering pulling out of the agency.
A joint statement by Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson warns that lawmakers will “discuss our own ideas for legislative action” in combating the vaccine mandate.
One of those actions being discussed will include “whether now is the time for Florida to withdraw from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and establish our own state program.”
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