On Monday, the White House told businesses to implement President Biden’s vaccine mandate despite a federal appeals court ordering a temporary halt to the rules.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said businesses “should not wait” for the legal issues to be settled before implementing the order, which would take effect Jan. 4 if courts allow it to go forward.
“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.
On Saturday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit blocked the mandate pending review, writing that “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”
The Biden administration responded by asking the court to lift the pause, arguing that companies’ concerns of losing more employees are “premature” because the deadline is not until January.
Biden’s vaccine mandate is expected to further impact the U.S. economy as workers are fired or leave their jobs to avoid being forced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation from late October, five percent of unvaccinated adults had already left their jobs because their employer implemented a vaccine mandate. At the time, one-quarter of workers said that their employer required vaccinations against the virus.
The Biden administration’s decision to tell businesses to ignore the court’s pause on the vaccine mandate comes shortly after the administration reissued a nationwide eviction moratorium that had been ruled unconstitutional.
“Well, look, the courts made it clear that the existing moratorium was not constitutional; it wouldn’t stand,” Biden said at the time.
In June, the Supreme Court had ruled that the CDC “exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium. … clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
After an extension for the moratorium failed to receive enough votes in Congress, the CDC ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling and reissued a nationwide eviction moratorium. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced on Twitter that she had “signed an eviction moratorium for US counties experiencing substantial & high levels of [COVID-19] transmission.”