Senate Republicans are formally challenging a rule put forward by the Biden administration that would require private-sector firms with at least 100 employees to mandate vaccination or weekly testing for COVID-19.
Biden introduced a sweeping vaccine mandate in September, telling the nation that “our patience is wearing thin” with the millions of Americans who have chosen to not get vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The mandates would apply to all federal employees, including military personnel and federal contractors. They would also extend into the private sector, requiring that all firms with 100 employees or more mandate weekly vaccination or testing.
To enact the mandates, Biden asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to declare an emergency temporary standard. In the past, such standards have been used to guard employees against dangerous chemicals or other similar toxins.
OSHA said in a statement to The Epoch Times that the emergency temporary standard would “ensure [that a firm’s] workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.”
In total, Biden’s mandate would extend to roughly 100 million Americans, nearly a third of all U.S. citizens.
Firms that violate the mandate once it’s enacted by OSHA would be subject to heavy fines. And to further ensure that Biden’s order is met, Democrats in Congress also have plans to increase these fines tenfold in their reconciliation bill.
However, Biden’s effort to mass vaccinate Americans working in the private sector has hit a roadblock in the courts.
Referencing Biden’s “thinning patience,” 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote that to protect “our constitutional structure … the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions—even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials” must be upheld.
Following this blistering condemnation of Biden’s policy, OSHA announced a decision to suspend its implementation and enforcement of the policy.
Now, Republicans in the Senate are hoping to ride on this momentum to overturn the OSHA rule entirely. All 50 Republicans in the upper chamber have joined with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to challenge the measure under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
The CRA, approved in the 1990s under Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, allows Congress to review and, if necessary, to overturn new federal regulations put into place by federal administrations such as OSHA. If a rule is overturned under this procedure, federal administrations are forbidden from issuing the same or a substantially similar rule.
Fortunately for these Republican critics, a CRA motion can be passed by a simple majority, without the risk of a filibuster. If a single Democrat joins with Republicans, the measure will be approved, ending the threat of mass firings for noncompliance.
“Today, Senate Republicans will formally challenge the overreach of federal power that is President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses, and I urge the Senate to vote in favor of this disapproval resolution when it comes to the Floor for a filibuster-proof, simple-majority vote as soon as early December,” Braun said in a statement posted to his website regarding the move.
“Republicans are united against President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses, but this federal overreach is not a partisan issue, and the consequences of this mandate are affecting Americans in all 50 states.”
A CRA motion gives critics of the mandate a unique opportunity, given its ability to be approved by a simple majority.
Now that the motion has been introduced, it will spend the next few weeks in review by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. After 20 days, the measure will be eligible for a floor vote, which could see the motion be approved as soon as December.
Thus far, no Democrats have come out in support of the motion, and Republicans will need at least one Democratic ally to overturn Biden’s mandate.