At least five states with Republican governors have announced lawsuits against President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers, which was finally issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday.
OSHA released new rules today requiring companies with more than 100 employees to have their workers vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 by Jan. 4. Businesses that do not comply may be fined up to $13,653 per violation.
Biden is requiring that unvaccinated employees also be forced to wear masks in the workplace. The president said that as many as 100 million Americans will be affected by his new requirements.
In response, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri have each announced plans to sue the Biden administration to halt the mandate. These states are challenging the new OSHA regulations on grounds that the federal government is overreaching and does not have the power to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for private-sector workers.
“When faceless government bureaucrats dictate what you must inject into your body, that's the furthest thing in the world from a safe workplace,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a news release. “The government doesn't get to be your nanny, and it's certainly not your doctor.”
“This is not consistent with a government of limited and enumerated powers,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference announcing his state's lawsuit. “There is no general police power, there is no power to mandate on the American people from the federal government.”
“Individuals should make informed choices about their own health care,” he added. “They shouldn't be coerced into getting the jab.”
“This is an overreach of the government's role in serving and protecting Hoosiers,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “While I agree that the vaccine is the tool that will best protect against COVID-19, this federal government approach is unprecedented and will bring about harmful, unintended consequences in the supply chain and the workforce.”
“Biden's plan pits Americans against Americans, while forcing them to choose between making a living or standing up for their personal beliefs. Biden's actions will only worsen the existing workforce shortages and supply chain issues that hinder our economic recovery,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement announcing Iowa's lawsuit.
And Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said: “The federal government does not have the authority to unilaterally force private employers to mandate their employees get vaccinated or foot the bill for weekly testing. I've been in discussions with businesses in Missouri, including a trailer manufacturing company in mid-Missouri, who say that this vaccine mandate will crush their business.”
It's highly probable more states will announce lawsuits in the next few hours or days. A total of 24 states have previously threatened to sue OSHA's vaccine mandate, claiming it would exacerbate worker shortages in many industries as businesses will be forced to fire employees who do not want to be vaccinated.
Businesses, religious groups, and other organizations that fall under the administration's mandate are also expected to file lawsuits.
These legal challenges may delay enforcement of the OSHA rules, setting up a legal back-and-forth through the court system that may wind up before the Supreme Court.
So far, courts have upheld vaccine mandates issued by states. The Biden administration is prepared to defend the OSHA mandate as “well within” the administration's “broad authority” under federal law, according to Fox Business.
“The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers and actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre said Thursday.
She said that vaccine mandates were a policy tool that has proven to work by convincing vaccine-hesitant Americans to get shots.
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