President Joe Biden’s executive orders requiring federal employees, contractors and private employers with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for COVID-19 exempts members of Congress, federal judges and their staffers.
In the coming weeks, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to issue an emergency temporary standard implementing the new requirement.
According to the order, businesses can face fines of up to $14,000 if they do not comply.
Because the president’s executive order for federal workers and contractors only applies to the executive branch, those who work under the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government are not included.
In an executive order signed Thursday, Biden wrote: “It is the policy of my Administration to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures.”
It continued: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent infection by the Delta variant or other variants is to be vaccinated.”
The order added that for the health and safety of the federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service, “it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.”
In another executive order, also signed this week, Biden wrote: “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this, what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA-approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.”
Biden added: “… The Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”