HOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is promising to sue over the president’s plan that impacts tens of millions of working Americans.
President Joe Biden’s plan contradicts a position he took in December of last year when he said he would not force vaccinations. The president now claims he has lost his patience with the 80 million Americans who are not vaccinated.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA statutes from the 1970′s give President Biden the power to issue his new sweeping vaccine mandate, it’s not that cut and dry. That’s the opinion of a local constitutional law professor who says he’s not convinced the federal government can actually enforce this policy in any legal way.
“They’re relying on some very old statutes that were not written with COVID-19 in mind. I don’t think those old statutes can be stretched quite that far,” said Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law.
Blackman said he believes companies and employees who are concerned about these mandates may have a legal leg to stand on.
“The federal government doesn’t have a broad power to regulate individuals,” Blackman said.
The White House’s Vaccinations Coordinator says OSHA, which is drafting the rule that would allow employers to require vaccination or weekly COVID testing, is well within its right to do so and to move forward. He said OSHA already has the systems in place to monitor and enforce the mandate.
“This is absolutely legal. This is the right thing to do. The secretary of labor has a responsibility to make sure employees are safe,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House Vaccinations Coordinator.
Human resource professionals, which will play a big role in the rollout, are waiting on OSHA to provide step-by-step guidance on how they’d like to see these policies executed.
“They’re going to be advising the employer and then they’ll be figuring out how they can make this a good and pleasant experience for the employees as well and really to be the glue that figures out how we execute upon this within the organization,” said Emily M. Dickens, Chief of Staff and head of Government Affairs for the Society For Human Resources Management.