Psaki: Businesses Should ‘Move Forward’ With COVID-19 ‘Measures’ Despite Two Court Stays
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.
Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that companies with more than 100 employees should continue to “move forward with measures that will make their workplaces safer and protect them and their workforces from COVID-19,” despite two court rulings enjoining the private sector vaccine mandate.

At the White House Press Briefing Thursday, Psaki was asked by Daily Caller White House Correspondent Shelby Talcott whether the administration was encouraging businesses to continue implementing the mandate, despite OSHA stopping enforcement after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals halted the mandate on November 12.

“Let me be very clear: Our message to businesses right now is to move forward with measures that will make their workplaces safer and protect them and their workforces from COVID-19,” Psaki told reporters. “That was our message after the first stay issued by the Fifth Circuit, that remains our message, and nothing has changed.”

Psaki cited data that said 60% of businesses are still taking steps to enforce the mandate.

“They are essentially implementing components or versions of these vaccine requirements because they know it’s in the interest of their workforces, to protect their workforces, to make sure they can bring more people back to the workforce. We certainly see that as a positive sign,” she concluded, adding that the White House is still operating on the same enforcement timeline, and that the administration is “confident in OSHA’s authority” to impose the mandate.

Psaki’s comments echoed the ones made by Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre after the mandate was stayed initially. “People should not wait,” Jean-Pierre said at the time. “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.”

The Fifth Circuit Court issued a preliminary injunction temporarily halting the mandate, pending judicial review, on November 6, citing potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.” The Court reaffirmed its stay after completing its judicial review on November 12, writing that the mandate was both over-inclusive, because of its sweeping and indiscriminate imposition on companies regardless of industry or work environment, and under-inclusive because it purports to help workers with 99 or more coworkers while giving no help to those with 98 or fewer coworkers. Besides that, the Court found the administration’s stated impetus — an emergency that has gone on for almost two years and that OSHA took two months to respond to — dubious. The Court found that the mandate, which the Court described as “staggeringly overbroad,” “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.”

Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing celebrated the ruling and encouraged businesses to stop enforcing the mandate. “This victory won’t mean anything to American workers unless businesses nationwide also stop enforcing and implementing the mandate,” Boreing said.

“Unless you’re a government contractor or subject to the health care worker vax requirement or some local or state policy, none of that is in play at the moment. Until the Sixth Circuit or Supreme Court rules otherwise, the OSHA mandate is off. No vaccine requirement. No testing requirement. No masks. No fines. Nothing. You don’t have to do anything.”

“If you’re a business that believes in freedom, the best way you can help is just to stop. Stop implementing OSHA’s illegal mandate because as of today, you don’t have to. Don’t make it easy for them by making your employees choose between their jobs and their freedom,” Boreing concluded.

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