Federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine requirement for government workers

Federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine requirement for government workers

1/21/2022 11:58:00 PM

Federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine requirement for government workers

The ruling amounted to yet another blow to the administration’s attempts to increase vaccinations through requirements.

The requirement was expected to apply to more than three million federal employees, including the military, but not including USPS workers, as well as at least four million federal contractors.Story continues below advertisementBut the disciplinary process was still being hashed out into the new year.

Vaccine boosters protect against severe disease from omicron, CDC says.Story continues below advertisement“It’s all getting really blurry and it’s making no sense,” he said. If the day ever came that the vaccine requirement was better enforced, he envisioned unvaccinated people finding ways to prolong their holdouts, as the prison is short-staffed and many of the supervisors didn’t believe in the requirement. His own weekly testing, he said, was a “pencil-whipping” exercise by a sympathetic supervisor — a formality that could be fudged if needed.

Read more: The Washington Post »

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Texas Judge Blocks Enforcement Of Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate NationwideA federal judge in Texas has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate for federal employees. That's a smart choice considering most Texans own guns. When anything new tries to force an experimental injection on another person I view that a attempted murder. Especially when mRNA technology is not meant for humans. COME ON DARWINISM!!! If the employees work for the federal government, TX has no business meddling. I hate this state for keeping Covid going with these BS lawsuits. Thank God my family and I are vaxxed bc my dgt, 2 granddaughters, and I all had breakthrough cases over the past week.

Judge in Texas blocks enforcement of federal employee vaccine mandate nationwideA Texas federal judge on Friday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate for federal employees, dealing another blow to President Joe Biden's campaign to increase the country's lackluster vaccination rate. Of course, this judge was appointed by Trump yet republicans will continue to blame him for the virus killing so many and hobbling the economy. smh BREAKING: 98% of Federal Workers are already vaccinated! MANDATES WORK You did not point that out in your summary CNN.😠

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. “For its part, this court will say only this: however extensive that power is, the federal-worker mandate exceeds it.” Story continues below advertisement The ruling amounted to yet another blow to the administration’s most ambitious public health measures — its work to corral the pandemic through vaccinations. It is yet another vaccine requirement that has been invalidated by the actions of appointees of Trump and other Republicans. But it is likely not the final word. the Department of Justice filed an appeal to the ruling, and the case could at some point be heard by the Supreme Court. The requirement was expected to apply to more than three million federal employees, including the military, but not including USPS workers, as well as at least four million federal contractors. Advertisement White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that 98 percent of federal workers were already vaccinated. Story continues below advertisement “Obviously, we are confident in our legal authority here,” she said. Federal workers faced discipline including potential termination for not complying, while contractors faced the potential of losing their government contracts. But the disciplinary process was still being hashed out into the new year. The administration paused any discipline for noncompliance with the mandate over the Christmas holidays, and at this point few - if any - employees have been suspended or fired. Tens of thousands of federal workers have, however, requested religious waivers, and many agencies say they are still reviewing these requests. In the meantime, those who had been awaiting decisions on waiver requests were permitted to work alongside unvaccinated employees as long as they wore a mask, stayed socially distant and were tested regularly. Vaccine boosters protect against severe disease from omicron, CDC says. Unvaccinated rates are higher in conservative areas of the country, leaving relatively high percentages unprotected at agencies that include Veterans Affairs (11.5 percent); Agriculture (11.8 percent); Energy (9 percent); the Bureau of Prisons (17.5 percent); Homeland Security (10.5 percent) Social Security (9.7 percent). Advertisement Story continues below advertisement A correctional supervisor at FCI Herlong, a federal prison in Northern California, who asked that his name be withheld because he was not authorized to speak to the media, spoke about the disorganization of the vaccine effort at his facility, saying that many of his co-workers were holding out from getting vaccinated as the deadlines for enforcement kept getting pushed back. He had a religious exemption request approved in December and gets tested at work every Friday. But he said he’s heard chatter from co-workers who felt compelled to get vaccinated that lawsuits — attempts to get more money from the government — could be forthcoming if and when the mandates get thrown out. “It’s all getting really blurry and it’s making no sense,” he said. If the day ever came that the vaccine requirement was better enforced, he envisioned unvaccinated people finding ways to prolong their holdouts, as the prison is short-staffed and many of the supervisors didn’t believe in the requirement. His own weekly testing, he said, was a “pencil-whipping” exercise by a sympathetic supervisor — a formality that could be fudged if needed. Supreme Court blocks Biden's workplace vaccine rules The Biden administration said last fall that it would discipline and potentially dismiss holdouts. It offered the possibility of medical exceptions and waivers based on religious beliefs against vaccines. But there has been a lot of limbo and widespread confusion across the government on testing requirements. Advertisement Story continues below advertisement The administration’s first attempt to set up a testing program last summer failed to get off the ground as managers struggled to sign contracts with testing companies either on or off-site. The Office of Personnel Management last week announced another testing requirement to take effect in February. “We are confident in our legal authority,” OPM said in a statement. “Importantly, as we face the most transmissible variant to date, every leader should be focused on using the tools we know work to protect the American people. Vaccination is our strongest tool against the virus.” Friday’s ruling is likely to cause further turmoil inside the government over how agencies should deal with unvaccinated employees as they protect the safety of the public and employees who are vaccinated. Story continues below advertisement The United States vaccination rates lag behind peer nations despite public health campaigns and attempts to increase those numbers. And recent surges of new cases appear to have done little to convince large numbers of vaccine skeptics to get their shots, despite data showing that unvaccinated individuals are exponentially more likely to face serious health consequences from the virus, . Advertisement Vaccine requirements have been extremely controversial in the United States as measures meant to control the pandemic have been politicized. Conservative legal activists and Republican state attorneys general recently marshaled a successful legal case against another one of the administration’s vaccine proposals, a requirement that businesses of 100 or more employees require vaccinations or testing and masking by their unvaccinated employees. In a 6-3 ruling by the Republican-appointed justices , Supreme Court recently stopped the rule temporarily, indicating that it would likely be blocked permanently if the administration chooses to continue fighting the litigation. The court did allow however a vaccine mandate for the millions of health care workers at facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare funding. Story continues below advertisement Yet another source of confusion for the federal government has been new hires. Many agencies have imposed the mandate as a condition of employment, requiring people they’ve made offers to show proof of vaccination. Advertisement “At the beginning of filing season, our members are not helped by this conflicting message by an unelected judge who lacks medical and organizational management expertise of the executive branch,” said Chad Hooper, an Internal Revenue Service manager who leads the nonprofit Professional Managers Association, which represents agency managers. About 2,000 IRS employees have requested religious or medical waivers, he said. John Wagner contributed to this report. Comment