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President Biden during a meeting at the White House on Dec. 22. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hold oral arguments on Jan. 7 to consider legal challenges to President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

Why it matters: The mandates have faced a series of lawsuits from Republican-led states, businesses and religious coalitions.

The requirements: Private companies with at least 100 employees must ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated or tested weekly.

  • All health care workers at federally funded facilities must also get vaccinated.
  • The deadlines for both mandates to take effect have been pushed back several times, in part because of the legal proceedings.

Worth noting: The Supreme Court has thus far generally declined to block challenges to individual states' vaccine mandates.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Wednesday night that "especially as the U.S. faces the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it is critical to protect workers with vaccination requirements and testing protocols that are urgently needed."

  • The Biden administration was "confident in the legal authority for both policies and the [Justice Department] will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court," Psaki added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require vaccine or test for indoor dining

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

New vaccine-or-test requirements for indoor dining and drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul take effect Wednesday.

The big picture: A growing number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and New York, have instituted similar requirements in an effort to protect public health.

Yes, but: Questions about enforcement, logistics and effectiveness of the temporary measures here remain.

Updated 22 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.