Biden Administration Pulls Vaccine Or Test Rule For Big Businesses After Supreme Court Loss
The Biden administration has officially withdrawn the Covid-19 vaccine and testing rules aimed at large businesses. It would have required employees at businesses larger than 100 people to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing and wear face masks at work.
The rules would have allowed for some medical and religious exemptions, but over 80 million workers would have been impacted in some aspect.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced their withdrawal in light of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to block the rule.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the unsigned majority opinion said. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
OSHA’s rule would have been labeled an emergency temporary standard. While it will not be an enforceable rule, they are not removing the proposal.
“OSHA is evaluating the record and the evolving course of the pandemic … The agency intends to work expeditiously to issue a final standard that will protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 hazards,” an OSHA spokesperson said.
OSHA still encourages vaccinations in the workplace.
After the Supreme Court ruling that annulled a lower court’s decision to put the rule into effect, President Joe Biden voiced his disappointment.
“This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or to permit workers to refuse to be vaccinated, so long as they were tested once a week and wore a mask at work: a very modest burden,” the president said at the time of the ruling.
Although the Supreme Court rejected the vaccine or test rule for large businesses, they voted to pass through a vaccine policy for healthcare workers who work at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.