Biden retreats on mandates in fear of being 'Grinch that stole Christmas'

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  gregtx  •  4 weeks ago  •  2 comments

By:   Zachary Halaschak (MSN)

Biden retreats on mandates in fear of being 'Grinch that stole Christmas'
Businesses got some relief this week after the Biden administration softened its stance on federal vaccine mandates and extended its deadline.

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Businesses got some relief this week after the Biden administration softened its stance on federal vaccine mandates and extended its deadline.

e151e5.gifPresident Joe Biden in September had ordered all employees of the federal government and federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8. He also did the same for businesses with more than 100 employees, although they have the option to provide weekly testing results in lieu of inoculation. Since then, the administration has slightly softened its edicts under pressure from the business world.

On Monday, the White House provided updated guidance giving federal contractors more flexibility in how they enforce the vaccine mandate amid fears that the order could cause companies to drop contracts right before the holiday season. It will now be up to the contractors, not the federal government, on how they wish to deal with workers who refuse to comply with the president's order.

Just days later, the White House announced that it is pushing back the deadline across the board to Jan. 4, an apparent effort to ease concerns that supply chain problems would have been exacerbated by the deadline coinciding with the busiest shopping and shipping time of the year.

"I think it had to do with concerns about the holiday season," said Brian Marks, executive director of the University of New Haven's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. "It was a subtle game of brinkmanship."

Since the mandates were announced, some companies and business groups have been lobbying the administration to reconsider the order or ease the restrictions and move back the deadline for employees to be vaccinated. One of the business groups is the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, which represents more than 30,000 employers across the country.

Eric Hoplin, president and CEO of the NAW, sent a letter to Biden in October pressing him to ease the implementation of the executive orders, delay their execution, and provide alternatives that businesses can offer their employees.

"If tens or hundreds of thousands of employees are terminated just two weeks before Christmas — including the employees of the NAW companies which ensure the movement of products through the supply chain — the result could be nothing short of catastrophic for the newly unemployed and their families, and for the US economy," Hoplin told Biden.

Some of the businesses the NAW represents have contracts with the federal government and thus are required to have their workers inoculated without the testing opt-out. Hoplin said that the current state of play between the government and contractors has shifted after the administration "took an important step" and updated its guidance this week.

"This idea that on Dec. 8 we were going to have to fire tens of thousands of Americans just weeks before Christmas was something that the White House finally came to terms with," Hoplin told the Washington Examiner during an interview.

He called the administration's previous position on contractors "extreme" and said he was pleased the White House decided to give more power over mandating vaccinations to employers rather than the government.

Biden has been in talks with several business leaders over the mandates. Hoplin said Monday's guidance was a direct result of companies and trade associations raising awareness about the effect the mandate could have on businesses, employment, and supply chains. He said that if Biden hadn't revised the mandate, he would have been "the Grinch that stole Christmas."

"I think the White House got the message," he added.

Business fears about losing workers have been bolstered by labor shortages that many companies are already facing across the country.

About 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, a figure that is elevated from 4 million in July. The number of people quitting is the highest since the United States began keeping records of the statistic about 20 years ago and is equivalent to about 3% of the country's workforce.

Robert Beckman, general counsel for Florida-based BlueGrace Logistics, said labor issues are one of the reasons that employers and business groups have been working to change the language of the mandate. Because businesses are already working overtime to hire and retain employees, a strict interpretation of the mandate could exacerbate the existing problems companies are having with finding good labor.

"Competition for good human capital is ferocious right now in the transportation industry," he said.

Beckman said the conversations that businesses are having with the White House is a form of negotiation where both sides have been staring each other down to see who blinks first.

Despite some of the concessions, the White House still has managed to achieve its goal of getting shots into arms and still has not relented and allowed a testing option for federal contractors.

"By putting in the mandate as they did, and pushing it as long as they could, they achieved some major objectives, the Biden administration, by getting more and more people vaccinated and also giving various companies air cover to sort of characterize it as 'the federal government is requiring this,'" said Marks, the professor.

Still, the mandates face fierce opposition from some Republicans and business groups even with the new concessions and pushed-back deadline.

Hoplin told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that while he and his group were pleased that the deadline has been pushed back, he found the new guidance regarding businesses with more than 100 workers troubling because it could lead to employees who don't want to be vaccinated or tested quitting and getting jobs at smaller companies.

He said that, while the deadlines being pushed into next year may have avoided calamitous supply chain disruptions during the holidays, the supply chain crisis will likely last well into next year because of the mandates combined with labor issues.

Another aspect of the new guidance released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is that the agency left the door open to expansion. OSHA said companies with fewer than 100 workers could be included in the future and that it will make a determination after a month of public comment on the matter.

Frank Cania, the president and founder of HR Compliance Experts, said on Thursday that while having the deadlines pushed back is helpful, he is concerned that the order could grow to encompass more businesses.

He told the Washington Examiner that he is worried OSHA could say that the limit should be capped at a lower number like 50 or 25 employees. Cania said he expects the business community to be "very active" over the next couple of weeks in making their opposition to an expansion known.

A number of groups filed lawsuits after the new guidance was released.

Job Creators Network, which advocates for small businesses, is suing the administration over the argument that it doesn't have the authority to impose the mandate nor is there grave danger that the mandate is preventing.

"When faceless government bureaucrats dictate what you must inject into your body, that's the furthest thing in the world from a safe workplace," said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who filed a lawsuit in September. "The government doesn't get to be your nanny, and it's certainly not your doctor."4dbd0d.png

Tags:News, Vaccination, OSHA, Business, Mandate, Biden Administration, Coronavirus

Original Author:Zachary Halaschak

Original Location:Biden retreats on mandates in fear of being 'Grinch that stole Christmas'


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GregTx
Sophomore Participates
1  seeder  GregTx    4 weeks ago
About 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, a figure that is elevated from 4 million in July. The number of people quitting is the highest since the United States began keeping records of the statistic about 20 years ago and is equivalent to about 3% of the country's workforce.
 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2  Nerm_L    4 weeks ago

The CDC data for the adult population over age 18 shows that 80 pct have received one dose and 70 pct are fully vaccinated.  4 out of 5 adults have been vaccinated with at least one dose.  That means 51 million adults (out of 258 million) have not received a vaccine dose. 

The daily number of doses administered has been trending up from about 700k to 1.5 million per day.  And there isn't anything that suggests the number of doses administered will fall below 700k per day.  That would account for 42 million to 90 million doses administered over the next 60 days. 

The numbers are not as dire as the hair-on-fire fear mongers are telling us.  Joe Biden's mandate is just a political stunt to take credit for what is going to happen anyway.

 
 
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