Murkowski Votes to Overturn Vaccine Mandate for Private Businesses
Senate Passes Measure to End Rule for Private Employers
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) this week voted to overturn President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for private employers. After cosponsoring S.J.Res. 29, a resolution of disapproval against the vaccine mandate, she helped the Senate pass it on a bipartisan vote of 52-48.
“The Senate voted to overturn the President’s mandate and I hope the House will follow suit. I question the constitutionality of this mandate and believe it sets a dangerous precedent. It is within a private employer’s right to require their employees to be vaccinated or regularly tested, but it is an overreach for the federal government to force them to do so,” Senator Murkowski said. “I strongly support vaccinations and recognize they are safe, effective, and the best available option to limit the spread of the virus and the harm it causes. I continue to urge Alaskans to get vaccinated, but a personal health decision must be a personal choice. My conversations with employers and employees across Alaska—many of whom are also pro-vaccine—only reinforced my concerns about the negative impacts this mandate would have on them, their workforce, and Alaska’s economy.”
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) establishes a process through which Congress can nullify rules from the executive branch by passing of a joint resolution of disapproval. If such a resolution is approved by a majority in both chambers of Congress and signed by the President, or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto, the rule in question is invalidated.
S.J.Res.29 seeks to overturn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which requires private-sector workers at companies with more than 100 employees to receive a vaccine or be frequently tested. Last month, Senator Murkowski joined Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), Ranking Member of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, and all of her Senate Republican colleagues in introducing the measure.
This formal challenge to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private businesses will now be sent to the House of Representatives for further action.
- On September 8, President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates that extend to 80 million private sector workers and additional mandates on millions of federal workers and contractors.
- On November 4, OSHA issued its ETS regulation, which mandates that private employers with at least 100 employees ensure those individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.
- On November 17, Senator Murkowski joined her Senate Republican colleagues in introducing the resolution to formally challenge President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private business.
OSHA has suspended enforcement of the ETS pending review by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals