[guest post by JVW]
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it is scraping its vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers after the Supreme Court blocked the rule earlier this month.
“Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule,” the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement. “The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.”
“OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by Covid-19 in the workplace,” the agency added.
This decision, of course, comes on the heels of the Court’s 6-3 decision two weeks ago that the federal mandates exceeded the authority of the CDC, OHSA, and the executive branch to impose them, absent authorization from Congress.
This is all part and parcel of the curious and annoying tendency of the Biden Administration to push for policies which they know will either fail legislatively due to reluctance from their own nominal allies in Congress or because they know at heart that the policies are not a legitimate function of the federal government and that the judicial branch will eventually get around to nullifying them. President-elect Biden had ruled out a mandatory vaccinations and a national mask mandate back in December 2020, even though just months earlier (i.e. before he had been elected) he had looked favorably upon a federal masking requirement and claimed that his advisors suggested it would pass Constitutional muster. But even Team Biden should have had severe doubt that a Supreme Court majority would give their blessing to the nationwide vaccinate-or-test mandate that OSHA imposed upon private businesses with his tacit support. In the end, though, just like with the Biden flip-flop on the Constitutionality of rent moratoriums, it would seem that yet again the President was swayed by the more Warrenesque elements of the Democrat coalition or by the horrible political instincts of his utterly vacuous Vice-President, and he unsurprisingly charged straight into the cannon fire waving the banner of regulatory overreach.
The Administration now contends that they will focus their efforts on encouraging vaccination holdouts (advice: badgering them hasn’t worked; try something new) and focusing on small-bore efforts to combat the spread of the virus. Given their plunging poll numbers and the willingness of the science bureaucracy to promote the idea that the new omicron variant of COVID is starting to wane, it would appear more and more that the Biden Administration is looking for reasons and excuses for winding down the national hysteria and encouraging a return to normal — though naturally without giving up the expanded government powers that have been enacted in the name of public safety.