November 9, 2021

White House Mulls Vax Mandate for Travel as Employee Mandate is Put on Hold

  • Executive

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief: 
On Saturday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a ruling halting Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies with over 100 people. The new OSHA rule imposes a deadline of January 4th for all employees to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, the White House press secretary was asked about vaccine mandates for domestic travel. She responded by saying, “everything is on the table,” signaling that the Biden administration is open to imposing vaccinations on anyone who wants to travel within US borders.

The Background: 
In early September, President Joe Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to impose strict vaccine requirements on large businesses. In the past week, that rule has finally come to fruition.

But it didn’t make it very far.

In less than 72 hours, multiple states and private businesses had filed federal lawsuits and a U.S. Court of Appeals had halted the unconstitutional mandate.

This week, the new OSHA rule remains halted, but the Biden administration has vowed to proceed with it. Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said they would be fighting the court ruling saying that the rule was completely within their legal authority.

Meanwhile, a reporter asked Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Deputy Press Secretary, why there aren’t yet any vaccine requirements for domestic travel. 

Jean-Pierre answered that “everything is on the table.” That may be a signal that the Biden administration could pursue widespread vaccine mandates for anyone traveling on domestic flights, interstate bus travel, and other transportation services.

Notable Quotes: 

“The new emergency temporary standard is well within OSHA’s authority under the law and is consistent with OSHA’s requirements to protect the health and safety of workers.” - Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda

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