Latest: GOP AGs Threaten Legal Action Over Vaccine Mandate

Led by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Republican-run states are already gearing up to challenge the legality of the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for private companies before the Labor Department has even published the rules.

President Joe Biden last month directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a tiny agency that polices workplace safety for Labor, to write rules requiring private companies with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their staff against Covid-19 or test those who aren't at least once a week.

More than 130,000 businesses across the U.S. are bracing for the new rules, which will apply to roughly two-thirds of the private sector workforce. OSHA told CNBC it delivered its proposal to the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday night.

"Every day, we see more businesses implementing vaccination requirements, and the mounting data shows that they work. Businesses and organizations that are implementing requirements are seeing their vaccination rates rise by an average of 20% or more to well over 90%," Biden said in addressing the nation Thursday. "Let's be clear, vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us."

The rule is expected to take effect soon after OMB completes its review. Because it's being written under emergency procedures, OSHA can shortcut some of the usual regulatory bureaucracy, like a public comment period that would normally delay it by several months. OSHA will likely give companies time to comply with the new mandate before broad enforcement begins, according to Debbie Berkowitz, who served as a chief of staff and senior policy advisor at OSHA during the Obama administration.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked the administration for greater clarity on the vaccine and testing requirements in a meeting with White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget on Friday.

"We led off with the very serious concern of our members regarding the possibility of losing employees. That's a very real concern and we were very strong in terms of describing it," said Marc Freedman, a top lobbyist who attended the meeting for the Chamber.

He said the cutoff at 100 employees doesn't make sense. And in a tight labor market so close to the holidays, they asked if compliance could start after the busy shopping season so it doesn't disrupt their members' workforce, he said.

Source : https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/15/businesses-brace-for-biden-vaccine-mandate-as-republicans-threaten-lawsuits.html

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