Comment period on Biden’s workplace vaccine rule extended 45 days

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden visits Clayco construction site, in Elk Grove Village
U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on the importance of COVID-19 vaccine requirements, during a visit at a Clayco construction site, in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, U.S. October 7, 2021.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Biden administration on Tuesday extended the comment period on its sweeping workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule by 45 days as it seeks feedback from various stakeholders including private employers on whether a recently issued emergency temporary standard should become a permanent rule.

The emergency rule was issued by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Nov. 5. The deadline for comments, initially set for Dec. 6, has now been pushed back to Jan. 19.

The OSHA rule, covering tens of millions of workers, requires that businesses with at least 100 employees see that their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly and comply by Jan. 4.

The emergency rule was challenged by Republican-led states, businesses and trade groups, and it was quickly blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which called it “staggeringly overbroad” and a “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer.”

After the stay was imposed, lawsuits from across the country were transferred to the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati.

On Nov. 23, the Biden administration asked a federal appeals court to lift a court-ordered stay. The White House also asked for the rule to be reinstated immediately, but the court set a briefing schedule that runs through Dec. 10.