On Monday, a federal judge handed a victory to Gov. Chris Sununu and nine other governors, blocking the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers in the ten states that had filed a lawsuit against them earlier this month.
The mandate would have forced all 17 million health care workers in all medical facilities accepting Medicare or Medicaid funding to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4.
“Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp wrote in his 32-page order.
Days earlier, another court struck down a mandate on businesses with 100 or more employees imposed via the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). New Hampshire was one of eleven states to challenge that mandate as well.
This is a big win for New Hampshire’s health care system,” Sununu said of Monday’s ruling. “Nursing homes were at risk of closure if the Biden mandate remained in place. This helps maintain the staff New Hampshire needs to care for our loved ones.”
“This order means that CMS may not enforce its vaccine mandate against any facility within the State of New Hampshire until further notice,” added N.H. Attorney General John Formella. “We will continue to participate in this litigation and seek permanent relief, and we will provide further updates to the public as this litigation progresses.”
The Biden administration continues to argue that government-backed vaccine mandates are necessary, but Americans remain ambivalent. Even with more than 80 percent of adults having gotten at least one shot and new variants like Delta and Omicron in play, Americans remain largely ambivalent regarding mandates.
A recent Scott Rasmussen poll found that 48 percent of voters approve of the Biden administration’s attempt to mandate COVID vaccines for all workers at companies with more than 100 workers, while 46 percent oppose it.
Support has fallen in the last two months, with 54 percent approving the idea in mid-September and 37 percent against it.
A possible reason for the decline is that 63 percent of voters have experienced supply chain problems, Rasmussen stated. And 59 percent favor relaxing vaccine mandates to ease the supply chain problems.
The survey also found that some 53 percent do not believe the president has the legal authority to impose his order on private companies, up eight points since September. And just 30 percent believe he has the authority to implement his mandate.
Perhaps that’s why, on Monday, the Biden administration abandoned the one mandate they do have the authority to enforce: Federal workers.
Government employees and federal contractors will not be punished for failing to comply with President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate until next year, the White House announced.
The deadline for federal workers to get vaccinated or face suspension or firing was Nov. 22. The White House said 96.5 percent of the 3.5 million-employee federal workforce, the country’s largest, has already complied.
“Our goal is to protect workers, not penalize anyone,” a spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget said.