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 Safety and Health Administration on Sept. 9 to create a rule that requires businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate that their workers either get the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested weekly. This month, OSHA announced that those companies must ensure that their employees are vaccinated or are getting weekly testing by Jan. 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 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.”
Some members of the House caucus, which comprises nearly four dozen conservative Republican lawmakers, highlighted that religious exemptions are not being honored, citing concerns about the use of aborted fetal cell lines in the vaccines or how the vaccines affect fertility.
The lawmakers also repeatedly pointed out that Biden had promised he would not 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 that response from the Biden administration.
“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.”
On Friday evening, 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,” Sarah Harbison, general counsel for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, told The Daily Signal earlier this week. Harbison represents Brandon Trosclair, the Louisiana grocery store owner at the center of an anti-mandate lawsuit.
“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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