Republicans

President Biden Tells Republican Governors Threatening Legal Action Over Vaccine Mandates: “Have at It”

Covid vaccine mandates will not be imposed on millions of U.S. federal workers and contractors without a fight from a growing list of Republican Party Governors who are threatening lawsuits. But President Joe Biden doesn’t seem to mind the prospect of legal challenges, telling his critics: “Have at it.” The Independent has the story.

The administration is gearing up for another major clash between federal and state rule. But while many details about the rules remain unknown, Biden appears to be on firm legal ground to issue the directive in the name of protecting employee safety, according to several experts interviewed by the Associated Press

“My bet is that with respect to that statutory authority, they’re on pretty strong footing given the evidence strongly suggesting… the degree of risk that (unvaccinated individuals) pose, not only to themselves but also unto others,” said University of Connecticut Law Professor Sachin Pandya.

Republicans swiftly denounced the mandate that could impact 100 million Americans as government overreach and vowed to sue, and private employers who resist the requirements may do so as well. Texas Govenor Greg Abbott called it an “assault on private businesses” while Govenor Henry McMaster promised to “fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian”. The Republican National Committee has also said it will sue the administration “to protect Americans and their liberties”. …

The White House is gearing up for legal challenges and believes that even if some of the mandates are tossed out, millions of Americans will get a shot because of the new requirements…

Biden is putting enforcement in the hands of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is drafting a rule “over the coming weeks”, Jeffrey Zients, the White House Covid Response Coordinator, said Friday. He warned that “if a workplace refuses to follow the standard, the OSHA fines could be quite significant“.

Courts have upheld vaccination requirements as a condition of employment, both before the pandemic – in challenges brought by health care workers – and since the Covid outbreak, said Lindsay Wiley, Director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University Washington College of Law.

Where Biden’s vaccine requirements could be more open to attack is over questions of whether the administration followed the proper process to implement them, she said.

“The argument that mandatory vaccination impermissibly infringes on bodily autonomy or medical decision making, those arguments have not been successful and I don’t expect that to change,” Wiley said. “I think the challenges that are harder to predict the outcome of are going to be the ones that are really sort of the boring challenges about whether they followed the right process.”

Worth reading in full.

U.S. Congressmen’s Report: The “Preponderance of Evidence Proves” the Virus Leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology

A report from Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the U.S. Congress has said the “preponderance of evidence proves” the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “sometime before September 12th, 2019”.

The Telegraph summarises some of the main points of evidence.

The Republican report cited what it called under-reported information about laboratory safety protocols.

It detailed a request in July 2019 for a $1.5million overhaul of a hazardous waste treatment system, which was less than two years old. That request included maintenance on an “environmental air disinfection system”.

It raised questions about how well such systems were working in the months leading up to the outbreak, the report said.

The report said: “Such a significant renovation so soon after the facility began operation appears unusual.”

According to the report, satellite data in October showed a jump in visits to hospitals in Wuhan, along with a rise in people searching the internet for symptoms that could be linked to the virus.

It suggested the virus spread through Wuhan shortly before the Military World Games was held there in late October 2019.

In November, that event became an “international vector spreading the virus to multiple continents around the world” as athletes returned home, the report said.

The conclusions of this report are in line with earlier evidence set out on Lockdown Sceptics regarding the timeline of suspicious events and the smoking gun genetic evidence. This includes: