U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan and four other senators and a congressman are demanding congressional review of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate on private employees — before it goes into effect.
On Sept. 8, Biden issued vaccine and testing mandates for federal workers, contractors, and private businesses with more than 100 employees, affecting more than 80 million Americans and threatening $14,000 fines for each instance of noncompliance.
These mandates are expected to force employees of private sector companies with more than 100 employees to become vaccinated or produce at-least-weekly negative test results before coming to work. The plan for federal employees and contractors does not include the option of weekly testing.
To implement the mandate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to promulgate an emergency temporary standard that will remain in place for six months. After this period, OSHA must promulgate a permanent standard. Development of a permanent standard in six months would drastically outpace the 93 months it has typically taken OSHA to develop and finalize previous permanent standards.
Historically, OSHA has used its emergency authority sparingly, with many such orders being successfully challenged in the courts. Of the nine times OSHA has issued an ETS, the courts have fully vacated or stayed the ETS in four cases and partially vacated the ETS in one case.
Once the Biden administration formally issues this order, the senators and congressman intend to bring it before Congress for review under either the Congressional Review Act or other appropriate means.
“This rule is unconstitutional overreach by the President of the United States, pure and simple. Individual freedoms and the rule of law are too often an afterthought with this administration, while broken promises continue piling up. We all want to put this pandemic behind us, but the decision to vaccinate is an individual choice, and should not be mandated by the federal government,” said Sen. Sullivan.
“The federal government does not have the constitutional or statutory authority to take this action, and to make this clear, we will be exercising our congressional authority to overturn this rule with a Congressional Review Act resolution.”
The National Federation of Small Businesses said of the mandates: “Small businesses face daily challenges from pandemic requirements, locating qualified workers, rampant inflation, and supply chain disruptions. Small business owners and their employees want to operate in a safe and healthy manner that allows them to stay open. Additional mandates, enforcement, and penalties will further threaten the fragile small business recovery.”
The Congressional Review Act can be used by Congress to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval. If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto, the rule at issue is invalidated.