News and Analysis

‘This Isn’t A Mandate,’ Biden Admin Says Of New OSHA COVID-19 Mandate
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, the Biden administration official tasked with overseeing OSHA’s new vaccination mandate for private businesses employing at least 100 people, said on Thursday that the new rule “isn’t a mandate.” He added that those opposed to taking the COVID-19 vaccine should “take a deep breath,” because the federal government imposed the sweeping new, top-down rule in order to keep them safe.

On Thursday, the Biden administration released the controversial rule it has long previewed requiring that businesses with 100 employees or more require workers to be fully vaccinated, although it gives businesses the option of making their employees submit to weekly COVID tests and wearing “a face covering” while at work. The administration introduced the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) mandate through the auspices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Walsh seemed to make much of the fact that the regulation, published in the Federal Register on Friday, allows — but does not require — employers to let employees who do not want to be vaccinated to be tested. The ETS openly promotes “the preferred, and more protective, vaccination provision.”

“Quite honestly, I think a lot of the companies already with 100 or more employees already have some type of vaccine program, and a lot of times, it’s a mandate,” Secretary Walsh said. “This isn’t a mandate. This is a vaccine or testing. And I think that that’s something that a lot of the people who are anti-vaccine and saying they don’t want it — I want you to take a deep breath and hear what I’m saying here, because I think it’s really important to understand. It is about keeping people safe, including folks that don’t want to get vaccinated, to make sure that they’re safe.”

Legal actions have already ensued, as numerous state attorneys general said the law oversteps the government’s constitutional authority, tramples on the prerogatives of states and individual liberties, and will further erode public trust in the vaccine. Vaccine mandates have typically been imposed at the state or local level.

Eleven states immediately sued the Biden administration over the mandate in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, calling the mandate “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise.”

“The Biden [a]dministration’s new vaccine mandate on private businesses is a breathtaking abuse of federal power,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Biden’s new mandate is bad policy and bad law, and I’m asking the [c]ourt to strike it down.”

“The president is not our nanny; he’s not our doctor; and he’s not the Congress. Laws are written by elected representatives, not by executive fiat,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) told Laura Ingraham on Thursday night.

“Florida will put up a ferocious fight,” added Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R).

At the same time, religious ministries and nonprofit institutions have also rebuffed the OSHA mandate on the grounds that it turns them from servants of God into adjuncts of the state. They also cite faith-based objections to the testing process used in the development of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

“As religious ministries our clients cannot in good conscience force their own employees to violate their deeply held beliefs regarding vaccines,” said David Hacker, director of litigation at First Liberty Institute, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of three ministries: Daystar Television Network, the American Family Association, and Answers in Genesis.

Two seminaries that train future ministers — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary — have filed a separate lawsuit with the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom. “It is unacceptable for the government to force religious institutions to become coercive extensions of state power. We have no choice but to push back against this intrusion of the government into matters of conscience and religious conviction,” said Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is located in Kentucky.

“The government has no authority to unilaterally treat unvaccinated employees like workplace hazards or to compel employers to become vaccine commissars, and we are asking the 6th Circuit to put a stop to it immediately,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert.

On Thursday, The Daily Wire filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the OSHA mandate. You can read more about The Daily Wire’s lawsuit here.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘This Isn’t A Mandate,’ Biden Admin Says Of New OSHA COVID-19 Mandate