Jen Psaki After OSHA Pauses Biden’s Vaccine Mandate: ‘Nothing Has Changed’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has once again told businesses with 100 employees or more to continue implementing President Biden’s vaccine mandate despite the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspending the implementation per a court order.

“Let me be very clear: our message to businesses right now is to move forward with measures that will make their workplaces safer and protect them and their workforces from COVID-19,” Psaki said during a press conference on Thursday. “Nothing has changed.”

Earlier this week, OSHA suspended the implementation of President Biden’s vaccine mandate in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granting a stay, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”

Psaki said that businesses have already instituted their own version of Biden’s mandate without OSHA’s help. She added:

They are essentially implementing components or versions of these vaccine requirements because they know it’s in the interest of their workforces, to protect their workforces, to make sure they can bring more people back to the work force. We certainly see that as a positive sign.

“We are still heading towards the same timeline, the Department of Justice is vigorously defending the emergency temporary standard in court, and we are confident in OSHA’s authority,” she concluded.

Psaki essentially repeated what White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said shortly after the court ruled on the stay.

“People should not wait,” Jean-Pierre said. “They should continue to move forward and make sure they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”

This past September, President Biden announced that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration would mandate that private companies with 100 or more employees implement vaccine requirements or require weekly negative tests. The president waited nearly two months before releasing the details of his plan, which would not have even taken effect until January of 2022. A company in violation of the mandate could be fined $136,532.

The White House pledging to defy a court order follows a template set by former President Barack Obama when he defied orders regarding amnesty for illegal immigrants and when he publicly rebuked the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address over the Citizens United decision.


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