The vaccine mandate for federal employees will remain blocked at least until a September court hearing.
A Texas appeals court is dissolving a previous decision that upheld the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal employees.
This means that President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, which he introduced via Executive Order 14043 in September 2021, will remain blocked as long as the court does not issue a decision otherwise. The court has tentatively calendared the en banc oral arguments for the week of Sept. 12.
Feds for Medical Freedom, the plaintiffs, first challenged Biden’s vaccine mandate in a district court in Texas in December 2021 and alleged that the president exceeded his authority in imposing the vaccine mandate for federal employees.
Government lawyers stated in the lawsuit that federal law says the president “may prescribe regulations for the conduct of employees in the executive branch,” and that the act of becoming vaccinated is “plainly conduct.”
'Progressive Disciplinary Action'After Biden introduced the vaccine mandate last year, the administration made clear that federal workers failing to comply would face “disciplinary” consequences.
“If a federal worker fails to comply, they will go through the standard [human resources] process, which includes counseling, and face disciplinary action, face progressive disciplinary action,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time.
As of Dec. 8, 2021, 92.5 percent of the 3.5 million U.S. federal employees in the country and worldwide had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the White House said.
“Instead of going through the checks and balances of congressional approval, which includes feedback from the public, the executive order cuts all that out. It just says, ‘My way or the highway.’ Certainly, the Constitution grants powers like that to the president in foreign affairs and protecting the nation from aggression from foreign powers. But he doesn’t have the authority, with a sweep of the pen, to affect the lives of millions of people, bypassing Congress,” he added.