The Supreme Court began hearing arguments Friday on major Biden administration efforts to bump up the nation’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 at a time of spiking coronavirus cases because of the omicron variant.
Yost is leading a coalition of 27 attorneys general in seeking an immediate stay of the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate issued by OHSA saying the department lacks the authority to impose the mandate.
“COVID vaccines are safe and effective. I urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted,” Yost said at the press conference Friday. “But that doesn’t mean OSHA can mandate them.”
The mandate, due to take effect Monday, would require all employees of businesses with 100 or more staff members – an estimated 80 million private-sector workers – to be vaccinated or tested weekly—at their own expense—and wear a mask.
“I am concerned about the spread of virus and urge everyone to protect themselves against COVID-19, but I am equally concerned about this unlawful use of executive power,” Yost said. “The federal government shall not act unlawfully even in these extraordinary times, and we believe the Supreme Court will agree.”
Yost, who is vaccinated and boosted, has repeatedly warned the Biden administration of the illegality of its vaccine mandates, filing four lawsuits and others that pertain to mandates for healthcare workers, federal contractors and Head Start instructors.
“The president is not our nanny, the president is not our doctor and the president is not Congress,” Yost said recently. “He doesn’t have the authority to write laws and he’s abusing his authority by promulgating this particular rule.”
He said at the press conference that the state’s lawsuit was based on the legal argument over executive power.
“They’re trying to work around Congress because they don’t have the votes to do what they want to do,” Yost said.
Opponents also cited testing shortages causing backlogs and long lines long before the testing mandate takes effect. They pointed to OSHA’s estimated that the rule could cause up to three percent of workers to quit.
Clara Osterhage – the owner of 81 Ohio Great Clips hair salons and an NFIB board member – addressed reporters at Yost’s press conference Friday.
She called the mandate’s 100 employee threshold “ambiguous” and said the mandate will cause her to lose employees who can move to smaller businesses that aren’t impacted by the mandate.
“This will put me out of business,” Osterhage said.
Yost is joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.