White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday again said that businesses with 100 or more workers should move forward and implement the federal governments’ rule requiring workers to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing.
“Our message to businesses right now is to move forward with measures that will make their workplaces safer and protect their workforces from COVID-19,” she told reporters at the White House Thursday. “That was our message after the first stay issued by the Fifth Circuit. That remains our message and nothing has changed.”
It comes days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it would suspend enforcement of the mandate after a U.S. appeals court reaffirmed its decision to temporarily block the rule, which was published earlier this month. Affecting tens of millions of private-sector employees, the mandate triggered a barrage of lawsuits from Republican states, businesses, individuals, and other groups.
Despite OSHA’s decision and the legal challenges, Psaki said the Biden administration is confident that it has the authority to implement the rule and confirmed the White House is still working under the guise that businesses will implement the mandate by Jan. 4.
“We are still heading towards the same timeline,” she remarked. “The Department of Justice is vigorously defending the emergency temporary standard in court and we are confident in OSHA’s authority.”
Earlier this week, the dispute over the OSHA rule, known as an emergency temporary standard, was transferred to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a majority of its judges confirmed by Republican presidential administrations.
Despite that, Psaki asserted that polling shows that businesses are moving ahead with a vaccine mandate of some kind regardless of the ongoing legal challenges. She didn’t cite the polls or surveys to come up with that conclusion.
Like Psaki, several healthcare groups, including the powerful American Medical Association, this week called on businesses to implement the mandate, arguing that they “fully support” what OSHA is trying to implement.
“We—physicians, nurses and advanced practice clinicians, health experts, and health care professional societies—fully support the requirement that workers at companies with over 100 workers be vaccinated or tested,” their statement read.
Federal contractors and healthcare workers at Medicaid- or Medicare-funded facilities will also have to receive the vaccine under a separate rule handed down by the Biden administration. But unlike the mandate for private businesses, those employees don’t have the option to submit to weekly testing.
Recent data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 47 million U.S. COVID-19 cases and around 762,000 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic in the United States.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.