Labor Secretary Marty Walsh claimed to reporters this week that the new Joe Biden administration rule that requires private employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis is not a mandate.
“This isn’t a mandate—this is a vaccine or testing,” Walsh, a former mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, said during an MSNBC appearance.
“What we want to do is just encourage people to get vaccinated, if they choose not to get vaccinated, we’re asking—they’re going to get tested and then, in the workplace, when they’re around other people, they’re going to wear a mask. This is not a mandate,” he later added on CNN.
Critics, however, have said that this standard clearly is a mandate.
“This new rule is illegal and unconstitutional. It circumvents the normal legal process, along with Congress, to claim emergency powers to impose a mandate on American business,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which is representing two businesses that are suing the administration over the standard, according to The Epoch Times.
Though multiple lawsuits have been filed about the rule, the administration is defending it by citing the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal law enacted in 1970 after being passed by Congress and signed by then-President Richard Nixon. This act allows OSHA to issue an emergency standard “if the agency determines that employees are subject to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards, and an ETS is necessary to protect employees from such danger.”
“I don’t believe we’re overstepping our bounds here,” Walsh said, adding that he’s confident that the standard will withstand legal challenges.
The Department of Health’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also announced separately that it is requiring health care workers at facilities that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid get vaccinated against the CCP virus. These facilities, which employ over 17 million workers, are governed by the requirement rather than the OSHA standard. They also are not offering any opt-out testing option.
When asked what would happen to the health care workers who refuse to get a vaccine, Walsh said, “Employers will be able to take the action that they think is right.”
Americans everywhere should be free to decide for themselves whether or not to get vaccinated, without the government getting involved and forcing them to do it.
This piece was written by James Samson on November 6, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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