Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Newsmax Friday that President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 employees is "clearly unconstitutional."
"It's clearly unconstitutional," Paxton said during "Stinchfield" Friday. "If you read the language that you showed the viewers a few minutes ago, it doesn't match up to what they're trying to do."
Paxton, along with officials from several other states, are filing lawsuits to stop the emergency mandate through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that requires employers of more than 100 employees to make sure the workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative once each week and wear a mask while at work.
OSHA announced Thursday that it is implementing a new "emergency temporary standard" that is estimated to impact more than 84 million Americans.
According to the press release from the agency, the new regulation requires employers to obtain proof of an employee's vaccination status and retain records, including a roster of employees showing their status, require employees — regardless of vaccination status — to immediately report any positive COVID test, or diagnosis so they can "be removed" from the workplace until they "meet required criteria," ensure each worker who is not vaccinated is tested each week if they are in the workplace for at least a day, or tested seven days before returning to the workplace from being away for a week or longer, and make sure that unvaccinated employees wear a mask in the workplace, or in a work vehicle with another employee.
OSHA said that employers do not have to pay for the weekly testing of unvaccinated employees.
"While vaccination remains the most effective and efficient defense against COVID-19, this emergency temporary standard will protect all workers, including those who remain unvaccinated, by requiring regular testing and the use of face coverings by unvaccinated workers to prevent the spread of the virus," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick said in the release. "As part of OSHA's mission to protect the safety and health of workers, this rule will provide a roadmap to help businesses keep their workers safe."
Businesses and workers have until Jan. 4 to comply with the new regulation, according to OSHA.
Paxton said that the first order of business after filing the lawsuits in several states was to ask the various courts for a stay on the standard's implementation.
"We decided it was more effective for states to file in different places to keep the Biden administration busy dealing with lawsuits from all of the states instead of just one place, and it also gives us more bites at the apple so that we get more hearings on this issue," Paxton said.
He said that the individual cases will likely produce different rulings and that the issue may end up in the U.S, Supreme Court for a final decision.
"The president doesn't have the authority [to] just overstep the language of the statute," he said. "[If] Congress wants to mandate this, they're going to have to go through that process of debating that type of bill and passing it."
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