US President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Administration Building in Washington, DC, USA, Thursday, October 14, 2021.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Biden administration on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to immediately overturn the termination order for its Covid vaccine and testing requirements for private businesses, warning that delaying the policy would cost lives and lead to more hospitalizations.
The Justice Department told the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the “threat to workers is constant and immense” as offices reopen and a highly transmitted delta variant spreads.
“To put it simply, the delay in the introduction of the Standard is likely to cost many lives per day, in addition to the high number of hospitalizations, other serious health implications and huge costs. This is an aggregate of harm of the highest order, ”the Ministry of Justice said. traffic.
The Biden administration asked the court to at least uphold the masking and testing requirements for unvaccinated workers as an interim measure pending the conclusion of the trial.
“While vaccination is the most effective means of reducing the serious risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, masking and testing for unvaccinated employees is a reasonably effective alternative,” the administration told the court.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are about 95,000 new infections every day in the United States, up 14% from the previous week. On average, more than 1,100 people die from the virus per day in the United States, according to Hopkins.
About 50,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to figures from the Department of Health and Human Services seven days to Monday, up 6% from last week.
Last week, a broad coalition of doctors, nurses and pharmacists called on businesses to implement Biden’s policies, saying vaccinations are key to ending the pandemic and protecting workers. The team included the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the National League of Nurses.
The Biden administration was forced to suspend the implementation and enforcement of its vaccination and testing policies in response to an order from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, speaking to a panel of three judges, said the policy was “fatally flawed” and “overwhelmingly overly broad,” causing “serious constitutional problems.”
More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against Biden’s policies. Republican attorneys general, private companies and industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Freight Forward Associations and the National Federation of Independent Businesses are calling for the waiver. Unions have sued, asking courts to expand requirements to include small businesses and protect more workers.
The lawsuits were referred to the Sixth Judicial Circuit last week after the Biden administration asked the Multi-Window Judicial Commission to randomize the cases in the same court. The Biden administration is currently demanding that the Ohio Circuit Sixth Court of Appeals end the Louisiana Fifth Circuit pause.
The Justice Department in its proposal on Tuesday rejected the Fifth Circuit’s constitutional concerns as “groundless,” saying that requiring businesses to protect employees from workplace hazards does not fall outside the federal government’s mandate under the Constitution’s trade article.
The Biden administration also advised the Sixth District that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which drafted the rules for emergency powers, was acting within its mandate under a bylaw set by Congress.
OSHA, which oversees workplace safety for the Department of Labor, may shorten the normal rule-making process if the Secretary of Labor determines that a new workplace safety standard is necessary to protect workers from serious hazards. The White House has repeatedly stated that the virus clearly poses a serious threat to workers, pointing to a staggering death toll and high transmission rates across the country.
Biden’s policy required companies with 100 or more employees to provide vaccinations for their employees or weekly Covid testing until January 4. Unvaccinated employees were expected to start wearing masks at the indoor workplace starting December 5.
Regardless of what the Sixth Circuit decides, legal experts believe the case will eventually go to the Supreme Court.