The Biden administration this week signaled it would veto a Senate-led effort to nullify a vaccine mandate for private businesses, even as several Democratic lawmakers suggested they would support the effort.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that if the bill “comes to the President’s desk, he will veto it” even if Democratic senators vote in favor of the measure.
Psaki was asked by reporters about Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) having vocally supported a Republican-led bill to scrap President Joe Biden’s mandate.
“We certainly hope the Senate—Congress—will stand up to the anti-vaccine and testing crowd, and we’re going to continue to work to implement these,” she said, apparently characterizing those who support the bill as “anti-vaccine.”
Manchin, in a recent statement, announced he does “not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses” and said it would place an undue burden on private businesses. Tester, meanwhile, told reporters on Tuesday that he is “not crazy about mandates,” indicating he would support the measure.
Earlier this year, Biden, in announcing sweeping mandates, said that all private businesses with 100 or more workers would have to either get vaccinated or submit to regular COVID-19 testing, prompting concerns from Republicans and numerous businesses groups. Days after the rule was published last month, numerous lawsuits from GOP-led states, businesses, groups, and individuals were filed.
Two days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, published the vaccine rule for private companies, a U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued an injunction to block its enforcement. Later in November, the panel reaffirmed its decision and said the mandate would likely be struck down by the courts because it is “staggeringly overbroad.”
OSHA, which is overseen by the Department of Labor, on Nov. 17 announced it would suspend implementing the rule due to the court’s decision. At the time, the agency said it “remains confident” that its lawyers will prevail but is forced to suspend activities “related to the implementation and enforcement of the [rule] pending future developments in the litigation.”
After the appeals court decision, legal losses for the White House have started to pile up.
A federal judge on Tuesday halted a White House mandate that requires federal contractors, which include large corporations that have contracts with the federal government, to mandate their employees get the vaccine. Unlike the OSHA rule for private businesses, federal workers cannot submit regular COVID-19 tests but have the option to seek medical or religious exemptions.
Days before that, a federal judge halted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine rule for healthcare workers who are employed at Medicaid- or Medicare-funded facilities. CMS confirmed to The Epoch Times over the weekend that the agency, too, is confident that it will prevail in court but is required to suspend enforcement of the rule.