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Biden administration asks court to lift suspension of vaccine or test rule

Earlier this month, the 5th New Orleans Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay blocking a rule issued by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that would require private companies to over 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested each week for Covid -19, starting January 4.

But the legal battle over the warrant is now before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, after nearly three dozen lawsuits filed in multiple federal appeal courts against the rule sparked a lottery to consolidate cases.

What they said: The Biden administration is now calling for the 6th Circuit to be dissolved or at least the 5th Circuit suspension order amended, arguing that OSHA has “reasonably concluded” that the rule is necessary and that the constitutional concerns raised by the companies and the states that challenge it are without merit.

Opponents argue that the mandate goes beyond the authority of OSHA and the ability of Congress to delegate to federal agencies, as well as the Constitution’s First Amendment, Commerce Clause, and laws protecting religious freedom, among others.

But the Biden administration argues that “Congress has long regulated businesses engaged in interstate commerce in various ways,” citing minimum wage and overtime laws as well as anti-discrimination laws.

“Like many federal laws that govern the conduct of business, the standard here prescribes rules about how to engage in this business activity, and those rules sometimes require action,” the administration wrote in its request. to end the stay.

An alternative: The administration said if the court disagrees with those arguments, it should still modify the suspension so that the masking and testing requirement can remain in place while the legal fights unfold.

“In light of the suspension notice’s focus on mandatory vaccination, the extraordinary and continuing threat to employee safety in the workplace and the proven ability of masking and testing to mitigate this threat, the At the very least, court should lift the part of the suspension that prohibits OSHA from requiring employers to ensure that unvaccinated workers wear face coverings in the workplace and are regularly tested. for COVID-19, ”the administration told the court.

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