President Joe Biden brushed back at Republicans who have vowed to go to court to overturn his 'unconstitutional' vaccine mandates: 'Have at it.'
Biden issued the taunt to his rivals while visiting a DC school, where he touted his plan to require school officials to get vaccinated if their school or district takes federal money, as part of a sweeping series of vaccine mandates that also includes all federal workers and contractors.
He was asked how he would respond to GOP governors and critics who have vowed to sue and accused him of 'overreach.'
'Have at it,' Biden responded, while touring a DC school that is educating masked students in a highly vaccinated environment. 'I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities,' he said.
Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'We're playing for real here. This isn't a game,' Biden told his GOP critics, a day after announcing new vaccine mandates
He told them: 'We're playing for real here. This isn't a game. And I don't know of any scientist, out there in this field but doesn't think it makes considerable sense to do the six things I've suggested.'
The Republican National Committee threatened to sue to roll back Biden's new vaccine orders within hours after he issued them Thursday, calling the effort 'unconstitutional.'
They pointed to some of Biden and allies own past comments speaking to the limits of his authority.
'Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden's unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. A number of GOP governors have also threatened to sue.
Biden has gone after Republican governors who have used their powers to try to roll back mask mandates ordered by local school boards, and has offered to reimburse administrators' pay when governors try to dock it over mask mandates.
He was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden as he visited a middle school in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Friday.
Then, Biden pivoted to a critique of modern politics – at a time when he has been forcefully pushing back at critics following the chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some Republicans are demanding his resignation or impeachment, and former President Donald Trump continues to call the election 'rigged,' while also claiming a California recall and the Virginia governor's race won't be fair.
'Politics doesn’t have to be this way ... They’re growing up in an environment where they see it’s like a war. Like a bitter feud,' said Biden, speaking outdoors at the school.
'It’s not how we are. It’s not who we are as a nation. And it’s not how we beat every other crisis in our history.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is facing furious criticism for retweeting a post saying President Biden's sweeping new vaccine mandates are the 'ultimate work-around.'
Senator Ted Cruz slammed Klain after he shared MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle's post saying: 'OSHA doing this vaxx [sic] mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt [sic] to require vaccinations.'
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden tour Brookland Middle School, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 in Washington. Biden has encouraged every school district to promote vaccines, including with on-site clinics, to protect students as they return to school amid a resurgence of the coronavirus
Biden visited the school after announcing the sweeping orders in a speech Thursday
Biden said he was impressed by students who were working on a lunar lander
He was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden, an educator who resumed teaching community college
What is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by President Richard Nixon under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
OSHA has jurisdiction over most private and public workplaces across the country, but some states have their own OSHA-approved regulatory agencies.
The agency regulates health and safety standards in the workplace. To enforce that it's able to conduct unannounced inspections ensuring those standards are met.
Since it was created workplace deaths fell dramatically by nearly 63 percent, according to OSHA. An estimated 14,000 workers - or 38 per day - were killed on the job in 1970. But 2018 the number fell to 5,250, despite a doubling of the total US workforce.
OSHA's process for enacting new workplace standards includes consulting a number of relevant advisory committees linked to the Labor and Heath and Human Services Departments, as well as consulting business owners and allowing a window for public input, at least 30 days but 'usually 60 days or more.'
Businesses in states with their own OSHA-approved agencies can ask for a 'variance' in the rule if they can't comply by the effective date.
If the state is under federal OSHA jurisdiction then the agency will have to work with the state to determine if the exception can be granted
What is an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)?
An ETS allows OSHA to bypass the consultation process and public input window if it determines 'workers are in grave danger due to exposure to toxic substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or to new hazards and that an emergency standard is needed to protect them.'
Emergency standards can take effect immediately but only stay in effect until replaced by a permanent standard.
That proposed permanent standard must go through the regular bureaucratic channels and be decided upon within six months.
During that time the temporary rule can be challenged in an appropriate federal court.
OSHA can issue 'temporary variance' rules to employers who prove they can't comply with a regulation in time, but they have to demonstrate they are taking all the necessary and possible steps to protect workers, and show a roadmap toward compliance.
The Labor Department regulatory agency has the authority to issue an 'emergency temporary standard' if it can prove workers are exposed to a grave danger and the rule is deemed necessary to address it
'Important,' Cruz tweeted. 'Foolish RT from WH chief of staff. He said the quiet part out loud. Biden admin knows it's likely illegal (like the eviction moratorium) but they don't care.'
This added to a furious backlash from Republicans across the country to Biden's sweeping new mandates on two-thirds of Americans that they believe are 'coercive' and 'unconstitutional'.
On Thursday, the president announced that all federal workers would have to be vaccinated and companies with 100 or more employees would have to require staff to get the shot or get tested.
He is enforcing the new rules on private companies by using and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency order that usually deals with employees who are exposed to asbestos or faulty pipes.
Cruz added: 'Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate completely ignores the science and is an attack on Americans’ right to privacy. The feds have NO AUTHORITY to force employers make their employees get vaccinated.'
'Forcing this and coercing people, I don't think is the right decision. I'd imagine that you're gonna see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action,' Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.
The Republican National Committee says that it intends to sue to block Biden's order from taking effect, and several House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to negate the order.
'Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied,' said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who added that she was 'pro-vaccine and anti-mandate'.
'Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden's unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees, but when his decree goes into effect, the RNC will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties,' said McDaniel.
Klain retweeted MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle Thursday after Biden made the announcement
'Biden admin knows it's likely illegal (like the eviction moratorium) but they don't care,' Cruz wrote
Other Republican governors are also mounting a defense against Biden's aggressive new order and vowing to fight it through state laws and lawsuits.
President Joe Biden on Thursday declared war on the 80 million Americans who have yet to get a COVD vaccine and asked them 'what more is there to wait for' as he announced mandates covering two thirds of all workers.
'This is not about freedom or personal choice. It's about protecting yourself and those around you, the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love. My job as president is to protect all Americans,' he said in remarks in the State Dining Room at the White House.
'We've been patient but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please do the right thing,' he said.
Biden charged the unvaccinated with 'overcrowding our hospitals and overrunning emergency rooms intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack or pancreatic cancer.'
The president decried the 'pandemic politics' that he said was behind those who had not yet gotten a shot in the arm, calling out public officials who were 'actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19.'
'These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal,' he said.
He charged those who were fighting against COVID-19 mitigation procedures with helping increase the death rate. He didn't mention any specific official by name by his administration has publicly clashed with the Republican governors of Florida and Texas, Rick DeSantis and Greg Abbott.
'There are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19,' Biden said. 'Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they're ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities. This is totally unacceptable.'
He ended his nearly 30 minute speech with a whispered plea: 'Get vaccinated.'
'My message to unvaccinated Americans is this - what more is there to wait for?,' Biden said. 'What more to you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot.'
Arizona, Montana, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina were all among the Republican-led states that threatened legal action.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem threatened legal action against the Biden administration on Twitter, telling Biden: 'See you in court.'
She was joined by fellow Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who wrote 'I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration' on Twitter Thursday evening.
Biden on Thursday announced an aggressive new plan to get 100 million employees across the federal government and private sector vaccinated against COVID as the case rate continues to rise due to the Delta variant.
To reach his goal, Biden will use the sweeping power of the federal government, ordering companies to vaccinate workers or face fines of up to thousands of dollars. If the administration hits its 100 million mark that means two-thirds of the country's workforce would be vaccinated.
The Labor Department issued an emergency, temporary order to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure every worker is either fully vaccinated or gets tested at least once a week.
The order covers over 80 million employees and it will require employers with 100 or more employees to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated.
Any business that violates the new rule will face substantial fines, up to $14,000.
He also required all workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement to get vaccinated, which will apply to 17 million healthcare workers.
That is in addition to his executive order requiring all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated.
A senior administration official described it as an 'aggressive, comprehensive' plan to fight COVID as part of their mission to 'vaccinate the unvaccinated.' The official estimated nearly 80 million Americans are eligible to receive a shot but have not.
Additionally, the roughly 300,000 educators in headstart programs will be required to be vaccinated.
'It's simple - if you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated. If you want to do business with the government, you must vaccinate your workforce,' the senior administration official said on a briefing call with reporters previewing the president's remarks.
Additionally the TSA is doubling fines for people who refuse to mask on planes. The new range of penalties, which take effect Friday, September 10, 2021, will be $500-$1000 for first offenders and $1000-$3000 for second offenders, the Department of Homeland Security announced.
Biden also called on governors to require vaccinations for all school teachers and staff.
To reach his goal, Biden will use the sweeping power of the federal government, ordering companies to vaccinate workers or face fines of up to thousands of dollars