On Dec. 8, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of repealing the emergency temporary standard (ETS) created by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to enforce vaccination, testing and masking among larger employers.
The joint Congressional Review Act resolution, which calls for the disapproval of the ETS, passed 52-48. However, the resolution will need to pass in the House of Representatives and be signed by President Joe Biden to take effect. Biden is likely to veto the resolution should it pass in the House.
“At a minimum, there’s a reprieve, but as I’ve discussed in our past discussions, there’s significant legal issues with how this thing is drafted,” said Trent Cotney, CEO of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, about the ETS in a video.
The action is among the latest efforts to challenge vaccination mandates and rules ordered by Biden. The ETS is currently on hold after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on the ETS on Nov. 12. OSHA has since stated it will “take no steps to implement or enforce” the ETS “until further court order.”
OSHA published the ETS on Nov. 5, calling for employers with 100 or more employees to either vaccinate their workers or have them regularly tested for COVID-19 and wear masks.
The Biden administration’s other efforts to increase vaccination rates among workers are facing similar difficulties. On Nov. 30, U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate that federal contractors must be vaccinated by Jan. 18.
“Entities will still be free to encourage their employees to get vaccinated, and the employees will still be free to choose to be vaccinated,” Baker wrote in his opinion. “In contrast, declining to issue a preliminary injunction would force Plaintiffs to comply with the mandate, requiring them to make decisions which would significantly alter their ability to perform federal contract work which is critical to their operations.”