White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 9:31 AM PT – Tuesday, November 9, 2021
The White House continues to press forward with its nationwide vaccine mandate. Despite a set back, the Biden administration believes it will succeed in implementing a vaccine mandate on large employers.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed the White House’s confidence during a press conference on Monday.
“Congress empowered OSHA through a law, through a law that has been in the books for more than 50 years. So, this is an authority that we believe the Department of Labor has,” said Jean-Pierre. “We are very confident about it and just to say this is about keeping people safe in the workplace and it’s critical and it’s important to do. And so, that’s the message that we want to send out.”
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay on the order, citing constitutional concerns of federal overreach. According to Jean-Pierre however, COVID deaths should garner more attention than the legality of the actions to combat the virus.
“And if you look around and if we really, you know, zero in this past year, more than 750,000 people have died of COVID,” she stressed. “You have more, about 13-, approximately 1,300 people a day, who are also, who continue to die a day as I said, from COVID. If that’s not a grave danger, I don’t know what else is.”
The administration has urged the appellate court to lift the stay on the mandate, saying lives will be lost each day it’s not in place. Jean-Pierre echoed these sentiments, asserting the pandemic won’t be over until people are forced to choose between their job and the jab.
“In order to get this pandemic behind us, we need to get more people vaccinated. And this is a way to do that and we see vaccination requirements work,” Jean-Pierre said. “And also it’s important to keep people safe in their workplace. That should be, you know, should be a critical mission in making sure that happens.”
At least 27 states have challenged the federal vaccine mandate in various circuit courts around the country. If the measure passes, all companies with over 100 employees will be forced to require proof of vaccination or weekly testing by Jan. 4. In addition, employers will be fined up to $14,000 per violation of the policy.