The executive order made by President Joe Biden, which mandates COVID-19 vaccines for every federal worker, will not apply to Congress members, the federal court system, nor their staff members.
On Thursday, Biden’s order that requires federal workers and contractors to get the COVID-19 vaccine drops the choice of doing regular testing. However, it allows exemptions for religious reasons or for those with disabilities. Additionally, this order only applies to workers in the executive branch of government. Therefore, everyone from the legislative or judicial branches is exempt, according to the White House, as reported by Fox News.
New Executive Order Doesn’t Apply to Congress and Courts
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said back in April that Congress does not have the ability to mandate the vaccine among its members. She further stated that this was “a matter of privacy.” In August, she hinted that she would consider mandating the vaccine when the Food and Drug Administration grants it full approval. However, it seems the House Speaker has not revisited this matter ever since the FDA gave Pfizer’s Cominarty vaccine its approval late last month.
On August 3, several House Democrats collectively sent a letter to Dr. Brain Monahan, the Attending Physician of Congress, requesting for him to require Congress members and their staffers to get vaccinated. Alternatively, they asked for COVID-19 testing two times a week. At the time of writing, it remains unclear how many Senate and House members are still unvaccinated. However, many estimate this number to be quite low.
As part of the plan Biden announced on Thursday, he said companies employing 100 people or more will need to require vaccines or the weekly COVID-19 testing based on a forthcoming emergency order made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Labor Department. This will apply to over 80 million private-sector workers. According to the Biden administration, companies who fail or refuse to comply can face fines close to $14,000.
Following this announcement, many Republican Party members have criticized the order and called it unconstitutional.
The Dept. of Labor can only act pursuant to laws passed by CONGRESS. It doesn't have the authority to bypass rule-making process & implement Biden's new vaccine mandate. Just like the unconstitutional CDC eviction moratorium, this is another attempt by Biden to skirt the law.
— Congresswoman Tenney (@RepTenney) September 13, 2021
He doesn’t have the power to mandate this. If government could mandate the vaccine for federal employees & contractors, it would require a vote of Congress. It’s medical tyranny.
People will remember those who did this to them & who did not speak out.https://t.co/WVqGnxAX25
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 9, 2021