Nov 23, 2021 - Health

Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate

Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to lift a block on a national mandate that requires companies to ensure that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.

Why it matters: The government's 52-page motion comes more than a week after a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a stay on the rule, writing that it "grossly exceeds [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's] statutory authority" to regulate hazards within the workplace.

  • At least 34 lawsuits, brought by employers and Republican-controlled states, have since been moved to the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court for consolidation, per the New York Times.

What they're saying: The Biden administration defended the measure in its motion Tuesday, writing that it would "save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations."

"The Fifth Circuit's stay should be lifted immediately. The court's principal rationale was that OSHA allegedly lacked statutory authority to address the grave danger of COVID-19 in the workplace. ... That rationale has no basis in the statutory text. Congress charged OSHA with addressing grave dangers in the workplace, without any carve-out for viruses or dangers that also happen to exist outside the workplace."
ā€” Department of Justice in a filing to the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court

Details: Under the rule, companies with 100 or more workers must mandate vaccination or regular testing, with fines for violating the measure starting at an estimated $13,653 per violation.

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