U.S. Courts Temporarily Suspend Biden’s Vaccination Obligation to Federal Contractors Nationwide

The US District Court in Georgia suspended the Biden administration’s vaccination obligations on federal contractors on Tuesday, writing that the president may have surpassed his authority.

A US District Court in the Southern District of Georgia said the president seems to be right for related builders and contractors, an industry association that represents the construction industry. Joe Biden When he issued the mandate, he exceeded his authority under the Procurement Act.

“In practice, it acts as a public health regulation,” district judge R. Stanbaker wrote in an order. “It will also have a significant impact on the economy as a whole, as it limits the ability of contractors and workers to work on federal contracts. Therefore, it seems to have enormous economic and political significance. “Baker wrote.

The court said the mission was “expensive, labor-intensive, and likely to result in a reduction in the available members of the workforce.”

White House spokesman Jen Psaki said the Department of Justice “actively defends” its mission in court.

“The reason we proposed these requirements is because we are currently working and we are confident in our ability to legally achieve them nationwide,” Pusaki said in a Tuesday update. I told reporters.

Biden issued an executive order on September 9, demanding that contractors ensure that their workers were vaccinated against Covid and followed masking and social distance policies. The White House initially required contractors to comply until December 8, but then postponed the deadline until January 4. This requirement covers millions of workers across the US economy.

The court ordered the Biden administration to suspend the enforcement of mandates “in all contracts covered by any state or territory of the United States.” The court’s decision to issue a national injunction comes a week after another federal district court in Kentucky suspends enforcement in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

“Restricting relief only to those in front of the court is awkward and only causes confusion,” Baker said in a Tuesday order. It will also not provide relief to the Contractors Association for contracts in other states, he wrote.

The court’s provisional injunction urges companies to ensure employee vaccination, as public health officials have warned of the winter surge in Covid cases and the arrival of highly mutated Omicron variants of the virus. This is the latest blow to the administration’s efforts. On the coast of the United States.

Last month, the Biden administration was forced to suspend the enforcement of vaccine and testing requirements for companies with more than 100 employees. The Federal Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit of New Orleans has ordered the administration to refrain from enforcing the requirements until further notice, because of “serious constitutional concerns.”

The mission of a federal contractor is more stringent than the business requirements issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, companies can take additional safety measures for unvaccinated employees who are religiously or medically exempt, such as mask requirements and routine Covid inspections.

Despite Tuesday’s order, some federal contractors, such as major airlines, have been working for months to meet their requirements. Southwest Airlines told staff on Saturday that 93% of its more than 50,000 employees had uploaded vaccine cards or requested an exemption.

According to Dallas-based airlines, duty-free staff may need to be tested regularly or wear masks at work. As part of this, United Airlines enforced its company’s vaccination obligations in August, with more than 96% of its 67,000 employees vaccinated by early fall.

–CNBC’s Leslie Joseph contributed to this report.

U.S. Courts Temporarily Suspend Biden’s Vaccination Obligation to Federal Contractors Nationwide

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