White House Tells Businesses To ‘Move Forward’ With Biden’s Vaccine, Testing Rule Despite Federal Court’s Temporary Block

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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The White House told private businesses to continue implementing President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing rule on Monday after a federal appeals court ordered a stay over the weekend.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued on Saturday a temporary halt of Biden’s rule, which requires businesses with 100+ employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or have weekly testing for employees. The ruling followed an announcement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) earlier in November, and the new rules were set to have a Jan. 4 deadline for compliance.

Despite the ruling, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during Monday’s briefing that the administration thinks “people should not wait.”

“We say: Do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do, and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness,” she said. “So this is about keeping people in a workplace safe and so – and what we’re seeing is more businesses and school closures and most lost jobs … keep us stuck in a pandemic that we’re trying to end. Like, we do not want that to happen. We’re trying to get past this pandemic, and we know the way to do that is to get people vaccinated.”

“So people should not wait. We should continue to do – move forward and make sure that they’re getting their workplace vaccinated,” she continued. (RELATED: Biden Administration Hit With Lawsuits Challenging Vaccine Mandate)


Jean-Pierre said the Department of Justice (DOJ) would fight the ruling, and the department argued Monday that the challenges to Biden’s rule hadn’t proven that alleged injuries as a result of it “outweigh the harm of [stopping] a Standard that will save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations,” according to CNN. A number of Republican-led states, as well as private businesses,  requested the pause, and numerous small businesses sued over Biden’s rule.

“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the court of appeals wrote in its ruling over the weekend.

The Biden administration maintains that its vaccine and testing requirement is legal. Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said in a statement following the court of appeals’ decision that it “is well within OSHA’s authority under the law” and noted the department is “fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”

Jean-Pierre also said on Monday that “the administration clearly has the authority to protect workers” and said the rules announced by Biden “are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”