It's a good thing the White House doesn't handle 911 calls -- it might take two months to get a response! That's the irony behind the administration's vaccine mandate. The president used his "emergency" powers to write the rules and then was in absolutely no hurry to release them -- or, as we've learned by his January 4th deadline -- put them into effect! If COVID is that urgent, Joe Biden has sure taken his sweet time showing it. But then, that's one of the most outrageous part of this whole process. The virus is no longer the emergency -- the attacks it enables on our freedoms are.
A whole two months after warning that a vaccine mandate was coming, the president and his team finally got around to it and filed the final rule. "Needless to say," NRO pointed out, "it is unusual for it to take two months to write up the regulations for an emergency temporary standard, and even more unusual for an ‘emergency temporary standard' to not take effect for an additional two months after the regulations are issued. That virus is awfully courteous to hold off until after the holidays!"
Of course, as everyone knows, using the "emergency" standard was a joke -- an excuse to short-circuit the government's normal procedures. How else could the Biden administration avoid public comment and scrutiny? Frankly, the entire process has been a charade from the beginning, meant to shield the White House from legal challenges for as long as possible. "For these two months, basically, he's been intimidating the American workforce," Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita complained on "Washington Watch." "... [H]e perhaps even duped people into getting vaccines before the rule even came out. But now we have it."
And boy, are the states running with it. In the handful of hours since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized the rule, as many as 24 states have pulled the trigger on lawsuits in federal court -- some, like Rokita's state, even filing more than one. Like a lot of attorneys general, he's hopeful the country won't have to wait long to see the mandate stopped in its tracks For starters, he explains, it's a complete abuse of OSHA's purpose. "This isn't a workplace issue. You know, we've had this virus around for years now, literally... [I]t's in our houses, our churches, it's in our schools. It's becoming -- for better or worse -- part of our lives, and to use the OSHA law to mandate this egregious and insidious requirement is just too much. A lot of it's been too much, but we think we have a great legal ground to stand on there with the first suit, for sure."
His counterpart in Ohio, Attorney General Dave Yost, couldn't agree more. "These [safety requirements that OSHA oversees] are typically part of the workplace. They're not at your home, they're not at the shopping mall, they're at work -- and they're specific to work. This use of workplace regulation to control a conflict and infectious disease that's everywhere on the planet, not just at work, is an incredible overreach. They're stretching this law to the point where it's going to break and shatter." The bottom line, Yost insists, is "this mandate completely oversteps the power that the president is given under the Constitution. The president is not our nanny, not our doctor, and the president is not Congress. He doesn't get to write laws."
But that hasn't stopped Biden from trying -- or from using his radical party to make the penalties even more painful for businesses. Under the OSHA rule, there's a $14,000 fine "per violation" for businesses with more than 100 people who don't comply by January 4th. In the multi-trillion dollar "infrastructure" bill, up for a vote today, Democratic leaders want to increase the punishment to $700,000 per violation. In other words, the Left would essentially bankrupt any employer or business that doesn't comply. And, on top of that, they want to funnel almost a billion of your taxpayer dollars to the Department of Labor to enforce it!
Equally outrageous, Rokita points out, is that even federal contractors will be subject to Biden's tyranny. "They don't even have a choice like [these] private employees... where it's a vaccine or a test [every week]... Under the federal contractor suit, they don't have a choice. If you work for the federal government in some kind of contractual relationship -- or your business does -- you don't even get [to choose between a test]. You just have to be vaccinated as if you were, in fact, a federal employee."
Fortunately for Americans, these state leaders have been hunkered down, preparing for this day for weeks. They've intentionally filed cases in different circuit courts, hoping that split rulings will force the Supreme Court to take it up. "There is definitely a strategy," Rokita said, "to get this heard by the highest court as soon as practicable." That would be just fine with the American people, Gallup notes, since the majority of them think "the government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses" -- a sentiment this White House pretended to share when it said last July that requiring vaccinations is "not the role of the federal government."
Like most of Biden's positions, it didn't last. Let's hope that his latest, under these courts, doesn't either.