President Joe Biden doesn’t seem to take his losses very well.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court made it clear that the White House’s vaccine mandate for large private businesses was unconstitutional.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate was an “emergency temporary standard” that required all private employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforces were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing. Refusing to follow the mandate would have resulted in fines of $14,000 per violation.
“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 court said in an unsigned opinion.
“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,” it said.
The president immediately began doing everything in his power to circumvent the high court’s decision.
In a statement released by the White House on Thursday, Biden expressed dismay that the sweeping mandate would not remain in place.
“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” he said. “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 then urged states and businesses to act as if the OSHA order had not been shot down.
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“As a result of the Court’s decision, it is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,” he said.
“The Court has ruled that my administration cannot use the authority granted to it by Congress to require this measure, but that does not stop me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans’ health and economy,” Biden said.
“I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.”
Before that, however, the president praised the Supreme Court for another decision Thursday.
While the court smacked down the Biden administration’s OSHA-enforced vaccine mandate for private employers, it chose to uphold the mandate for federally funded health care workers issued through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it,” the justices wrote in their opinion.
“At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have.”
In his dissent, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decried the decision.
“These cases are not about the efficacy or importance of COVID-19 vaccines. They are only about whether CMS has the statutory authority to force healthcare workers, by coercing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo,” Thomas wrote.
That victory was not enough for the COVID-crazed White House, however.
After the court signaled to the president — and to the rest of the country — that enacting a sweeping vaccine mandate for private employers was crossing the line, Biden responded by demanding that states and businesses pick up the slack created by his administration’s incompetence.
Let’s hope they refuse to comply with his desperation move.