August 9, 2022

Vision Cim

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White House not budging on OSHA vaccine mandate as Postal Service says mail could be affected

White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave no inclination on Thursday that the administration would be willing to budge on the vaccine mandate issued by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), despite pleas from the U.S. Postal Service. 

“OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the spread of coronavirus on the job everywhere at companies, including the Postal Service,” she said, referring to the directive that will impact millions of workers.

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WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: White House press secretary Jen Psaki answers questions during the daily White House press briefing January 6, 2022 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“And the agency found that compliance with the rule was feasible for all employers, including the Postal Service,” the press secretary added. 

Psaki’s comments come one day after Deputy Postmaster General Douglas Tulino wrote a letter to the administration requesting a 120-day waiver from the vaccine mandate.

Tulino alleged the directive could have a “potentially catastrophic impact” on the already strained mail system.  

Psaki said she would allow OSHA to speak on its own guidelines but argued Thursday that the Postal Service was provided “compliance resources” to help it roll out vaccine and testing requirements for all of its employees.

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“But again, I just wanted to remind people that when it was issued, it was made clear that the Postal Service could be compliant and had the ability to do that and still conduct their job,” she added. 

OSHA did not return immediately return Fox Business’ questions regarding any possible extension on the mandate, which is set to be enforced starting Jan. 10.

The mandate has sparked controversy amongst Republicans who reject a federal vaccine order. 

The OSHA directive was first stalled in early November by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The stay was lifted last month by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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The White House said on Friday that millions of federal contractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 and that the administration will add clauses to future government contracts mandating inoculations. (GRANT HINDSLEY/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Given the month-long uncertainty surrounding the mandate, OSHA said it would hold off on issuing non-compliance citations until Feb. 9. 

It is not only employers who could face repercussions for failing to enforce vaccine or testing requirements. If employees refuses to get the shot or comply with established testing requirements, they could face termination. 

Lawmakers on the Hill have sought to block the mandate through a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. 

Though even if lawmakers garner enough support to block the directive, their resolution is unlikely to survive a presidential veto.