Indianapolis News and HeadlinesNational Politics

Actions

Challenges continue to impact President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate

Supreme Court to hear case next week
Virus Outbreak Nation's Capital
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 07:45:51-05

WASHINGTON — The lines to get tested for COVID-19 continue to get longer across the country.

According to a New York Times analysis, the U.S. is averaging around 214,000 daily cases and approximately 1,300 deaths a day.

From the White House's perspective, getting vaccinated remains the best way for Americans to protect themselves against the virus.

"If you are unvaccinated, you are at a high risk of getting COVID-19," President Joe Biden said Monday.

But Biden's vaccine mandate and demand that most private businesses require shots continues to face obstacles from state leaders.

The biggest challenge has been from lawsuits, mostly from Republican attorneys general.

The Supreme Court, in fact, will hear oral arguments on Jan. 7 to determine whether Biden's vaccine mandate for employers is constitutional. It remains unclear how the conservative-leaning court will rule.

While that legal fight has been brewing for weeks, there is another barrier facing the Biden administration — efforts from states to undermine the president's vaccine push.

For instance, in Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee, unemployment benefits have been extended to those fired from their job for refusing to get vaccinated.

Lawmakers in other conservative-leaning states are expected to push for similar moves in the new year when state legislatures convene.

Usually, when someone quits their job or is terminated for cause, they aren't eligible for unemployment assistance. Now, unvaccinated Americans in some states have access to aid, undermining the vaccine push by the White House.

Many liberal-leaning groups say the move is an attack on public health. They're encouraging Congress to protect unemployment aid.

However, most senators currently oppose Biden's vaccine mandate, including Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, who has called it a "burdensome" regulation.