A trade group that represents the U.S. packaged goods industry says that businesses have a number of key questions following President Joe Biden’s announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and they need answers immediately.
The Consumer Brands Association, with membership including companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Kellogg’s, sent a letter to the Biden administration asking for immediate details about the president’s plan, which will require companies with 100 or more employees to impose weekly testing or require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Since Biden’s announcement on Sept. 9, few details about the mandate have been released by the White House. Biden’s speech to the American public also didn’t contain much information about how it would be enforced or provide a timetable for the mandate.
“Federal agencies must move quickly, anticipate challenges, promptly answer questions, and partner with the private sector if we are to realize successful implementation of the administration’s COVID-19 action plan and achieve our shared goal of increased vaccination rates,” Geoff Freeman, Consumer Brands Association’s CEO and president, wrote in the letter.
“Strong consistent collaboration between the private and public sector on implementation will accelerate progress on our shared goal.”
The Consumer Brands Association represents about 1,700 U.S. companies, which employ millions of workers.
The group doesn’t oppose the vaccine or vaccine mandate but needs more information about how it would be enforced, he said. Freeman included a list of 19 questions that he said White House officials need to answer, addressing issues such as booster shots, contracts between companies and unions, and the status for unvaccinated workers whose COVID-19 test results are pending.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
According to estimates from the White House, Biden’s mandate will affect about 80 million private-sector employees. Several executive orders handed down by the president have mandated COVID-19 vaccines for most health care workers, federal employees, and federal contractors. According to reports, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration could dole out hefty fines of thousands of dollars per violation.
Biden’s speech and plan were described by many as authoritarian and illegal, with some Republican governors promising to file lawsuits against the administration when the executive order focused on private businesses is issued.
Constitutional law scholar and Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said the vaccine mandate penalty will likely be struck down by the courts once lawsuits are filed. The courts will likely say that the federal government has the authority to issue the vaccine mandate with exceptions, he said, noting that mandates are typically within the purview of Congress.
“I think the courts will focus on that issue first and say that the president may not have the authority to do this without congressional authorization,” Dershowitz said in a Newsmax interview over the weekend.
The White House press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.