Congressional Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to block President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private companies with 100 or more staff, arguing that the president and his administration are exceeding their authority.
Some 47 senators and 136 House members put their name to the brief filed with the court on Thursday.
‘Vaccine mandates – a prototypical state police power – are not within the purview of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, let alone something on which Congress intended OSHA to take unilateral action under its “emergency” powers,’ they wrote.
The mandate from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was initially intended to come into force on Jan. 4.
However, it was first blocked in the courts, before then being reinstated on appeal.
The Supreme Court is now due to hear oral arguments on Jan. 7.
President Biden is accused of executive overreach in trying to impose vaccine mandates
Republican attorneys general, conservative groups and GOP members of Congress have all objected to vaccine mandates for staff at private companies with more than 100 employees
Some 47 Republican senators and 136 House members put their name to the ‘amicus’ brief filed with the court, arguing that the Biden administration overstepped its authority
The Biden administration has filed its own brief urging the justices to allow its mandate to stand, a move that OSHA estimates would save 6,500 lives and prevent about 250,000 hospitalizations during the next six months.
Department of Justice lawyers said the 1970 law that set up OSHA was clear that the policy fell ‘squarely within OSHA’s statutory authority.’
‘Delaying enforcement of the [mandate] thus would likely cost many lives per day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations and other serious health effects,” wrote Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
But the White House faces opposition from Republican state attorneys general and conservative groups.
And the brief from 183 Congressional Republicans – led by Reps. Elise Stefanik, Jim Banks, Virginia Foxx, Rick Allen, and Sen. Mike Braun – says they are worried about federal overreach.
‘Congressional members have an interest in the powers they delegate to agencies not being abused – the legislative authority vested in the federal government belongs to Congress, not the executive branch,’ they write.
‘In this case, the promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) of a sweeping, nationwide vaccine mandate on businesses intrudes into an area of legislative concern far beyond the authority of the agency.
The Supreme Court, with a 6-3 conservative majority, will hear oral arguments in the case on January 7 as the Biden administration tries to keep its vaccine mandate on course
‘And it does so with a mandate enacted through OSHA’s seldom-used ‘emergency temporary standard’ (ETS) provision that allows for bypass of notice and comment rulemaking under certain circumstances. That OSHA exceeded its authority in enacting the ETS Mandate is not a “particularly hard” question.’
Business challengers include the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group that represents small businesses.
Other parts of the Biden administration efforts to tackle COVID-19 are also bogged down in the courts.
A mandate covering health care workers at Medicaid or Medicare facilities is blocked in about half of states.
It required more than two million unvaccinated health care workers to receive a first vaccine dose by December 6.