by Scott McClallen
Michigan businesses are rushing to figure out the potential impacts of new rules President Joe Biden announced Thursday, which could affect 100 million U.S. workers.
The mandate requires all federal workers and contractors get vaccinated, with limited exceptions. Biden said the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees to vaccinate employees or test them weekly.
Biden announced he would require health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated.
The new rule walks back Biden’s previous promises. On July 23, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki said a national vaccine mandate “is not the role of the federal government.”
Hours later, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said it plans to sue over the rule, Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.
“Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price,” McDaniel said in a statement. “Like many Americans, I am 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.”
The new mandates also require that all federal employees and contractors get vaccinated, with no testing opt-out option.
“It’s going to take some time,” Biden said. “Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office didn’t respond to a request from The Center Square for comment.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce questioned the government’s authority to enact such a mandate.
“Not all states are alike and not all businesses are alike but, in Michigan, this type of top-down state government mandate will have a devastating impact on jobs and the economy,” Chamber President and CEO Rich Studley said in a statement.
“It is unclear whether OSHA has clear legal authority to arbitrarily impose this regulatory burden on employers and employees. Job providers should be trusted to work with their employees to determine the best course of action on vaccines and other H.R. policies and to operate free of undue governmental interference.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, disagrees with the rule.
“This is not about healthcare. It is about control. It is about control when the government dictates the private health decisions of its citizens,” Shirkey said in a statement. “It is about control when the government restricts acceptable health treatments to one specific option. It is about control when the government forces private business to make a specific status a condition of employment.”
U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-MI, tweeted that he opposed the rule.
“If you cheer when a president invents authority to do something you like, you are cheering a door being cracked open for the next president to do something you hate.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Richard Studley” by Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Photo “Sen. Mike Shirkey” by Senator Mike Shirkey.