Biden Administration’s OSHA Yet to Release Draft for Vaccine Mandates

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. (AP Photo/Andrew …
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has yet to release a draft to force private businesses to mandate coronavirus vaccines or implement rigorous testing requirements, nearly two weeks after President Joe Biden made the demand.

On September 9, President Biden delivered a divisive speech on the coronavirus in which he blamed unvaccinated Americans for the current pandemic woes.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said, echoing the sentiments of fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio, who has mandated private businesses in New York City to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals.

“The voluntary phase is over,” de Blasio declared announcing Key to NYC Pass last month.“It’s time to mix mandates into this approach everywhere to defeat this enemy.”

At the time, the New York Democrat predicted that similar vaccine mandates will pop up “all over the country” and praised Biden for endorsing the mandates in the Big Apple.

“This was just a few hours after announcing the policy, Joe Biden 100 percent said yes, cities and states and counties should do this,” he said, referencing Biden’s Q&A with a reporter.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 07: Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio (R) and First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray attend the "Hometown Heroes" Ticker Tape Parade on July 07, 2021 in New York, New York. Healthcare Workers, first responders and essential workers were honored in Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes for their service during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 07: Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio (R) and First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray attend the “Hometown Heroes” Ticker Tape Parade on July 07, 2021 in New York, New York. Healthcare Workers, first responders and essential workers were honored in Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes for their service during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

The following month, Biden announced vaccine requirements not only for certain healthcare workers, federal workers, and federal contractors but private businesses as well.

“So, tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week,” he said during the September 9 speech, praising some companies, such as United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and “even Fox News” for “already requiring this.”

“The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.  We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America,” Biden said.

It has been nearly two weeks since Biden’s speech, and OSHA has yet to release draft regulations. As such, it remains wholly unclear when the proposed requirement would go into effect. According to National Law Review, the regulations are “expected within the coming weeks.” However, it remains unclear why the department has failed to release a draft of the regulations nearly two weeks after the president’s announcement.

The latest OSHA guidance for all industries was last updated August 13, which recommends workplaces to embrace a “multi-layered” approach, which includes vaccines and masks.

The Associated Press

In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. Religious objections, once used only sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The forthcoming mandate, however, is expected to be greeted with legal challenges. Last week, for example, 24 Republican attorneys general warned Biden that the mandate is “not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans.” They also warned it is illegal. The wrote in part:

You propose to enforce your mandates through the rarely used emergency temporary standard provision in the OSH Act. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Department has attempted to adopt an emergency temporary standard only on other time since 1983 (and that one exception came in June of this year and is being challenged.) An emergency temporary standard does to have to go through notice and comment and can be made effective immediately upon publication. Because of this lack of process and oversight, courts have viewed these standards with suspicion. Between 1971 and 1983, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nine emergency temporary standards. Of those, six were challenged. The courts fully vacated or stayed the standards in four cases, partially stated the standards in another, and upheld only one of the six.

“If your administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law,” they promised.

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