Ahead of the early January deadline for President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate, members of the House Freedom Caucus gathered in Washington to discuss that mandate, which members called “tyrannical,” and to hear testimony from Americans who could lose their jobs as a result of it.
Biden authorized the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to be established on Sept. 9. create a ruleBusinesses with over 100 employees are required to require that their workers receive the COVID-19 vaccination or undergo weekly testing. OSHA announced this month that companies with more than 100 employees must ensure that their employees have been vaccinated or receive weekly testing by January 4.
“I think everyone in this room acknowledges the fact that vaccine mandates are wrong,” said Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., during remarks Monday afternoon. “But when you go beyond that and you provide no exemptions for vaccine mandates, that’s insane.”
Hice said that the Biden administration is mixing “bad policy with medicine,” resulting in a “toxic outcome to our health care system, as well as our economic well-being.”
A few members of the House caucus (which includes nearly four dozen conservative Republican lawmakers) pointed out that religious exemptions were not being honored. They raised concerns about the use or potential effects of vaccines on fertility and aborted embryonic cell lines.
The lawmakers also repeatedly emphasized that Biden had stated that he would never impose a vaccine mandate.
“No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” Biden said of the vaccine in December. “I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory, but I will do everything in my power (just like I don’t think masks have to be mandatory nationwide), I will do everything in my power as president of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing, and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters.”
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., warned that “our most basic, precious freedoms are under assault and under threat from this administration,” adding that “nothing threatens the American people like this mandate that we see today.”
“There is not a greater, or more pressing, or more important issue facing the country right now,” Good said, “if not another issue that literally affects the lives of tens of millions of Americans.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., accused the Biden administration of using the “deep state” to “regulate every aspect of our lives” and thus “violating the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.”
The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily enjoined the Biden administration mandate on Nov. 6, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” but the government argued that stopping the mandate would “cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”
“Petitioners’ asserted injuries, by contrast, are speculative and remote, and do not outweigh the interest in protecting employees from a dangerous virus while this case proceeds,” the Biden administration lawyers wrote.
Boebert condemned the Biden administration’s response.
“This is tyrannical,” she said. “We are living under a lawless administration who has no regard for the law, no respect for it, and certainly is not upholding it. And while Biden is encouraging you to ignore the courts, the House Freedom Caucus is saying just the opposite.”
“Oppose the mandates,” she said. “Take a stand for personal freedom.”
Friday evening saw the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the previous court ruling, writing that Biden’s mandate is “staggeringly overbroad” and likely “violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.”
“We are thrilled that the Fifth Circuit reaffirmed their initial stay on the Biden administration’s unconstitutional OSHA vaccine mandate,” Pelican Institute for Public Policy general counsel Sarah Harbison told The Daily Signal earlier this week. Harbison represents Brandon Trosclair (the Louisiana grocery store owner) in an anti-mandate case.
“The court recognized that OSHA is no more suited to make health policy than the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is authorized to make housing policy,” she added. “The Pelican Institute and Liberty Justice Center will continue to fight to make sure business owners like Brandon Trosclair are protected from potentially ruinous government overreach.”
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