Sununu, Pappas Agree with Supreme Court Vaccine Mandate Ruling
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Rep. Chris Pappas are in rare agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to block President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The policy would have required employers with over 100 employees to mandate them to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccination or take a weekly test at their own expense. The order would have been enforced as an OSHA work rule.
The Supreme Court recognized the argument that the mandate would cost employers "billions of dollars in unrecoverable compliance costs" and cause many to leave their jobs.
"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category," the justices wrote in their opinion.
The government argued that the mandate would save over 6,500 lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, according to the opinion.
The justices who supported the mandate said the majority was "not wise" to displace the judgment of experts who advocate for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to protect workers.
"In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible," they wrote.
The Cost of the Mandate on Business
Sununu, whose administration joined other states in a lawsuit to block the mandate, thanked the court for listening to the concerns of "countless" businesses.
"I am as pro-vaccine as they come, but today’s decision to halt the Presidents overreaching vaccine mandate is good news for employees and the businesses that keep our supply chains running and economy open," the governor wrote on his social media.
Sununu has declined to declare a state of emergency and reinstate a mask mandate for New Hampshire but has been a strong supporter of vaccinations and boosters. He also has no problems with a business mandating its own vaccination policy.
"If an employer wants to mandate, it's always been their ability to do that. A hospitals, a Fred's Flower Shop," Sununu said during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box before Christmas.
York Was Prepared for Compliance
Pappas said he led a bipartisan effort opposing the mandate in the form it was rejected in because of the impact on small business.
"I continue to urge the administration to revise its approach so that we do not place unworkable or unnecessarily burdensome requirements on businesses who are still struggling to recover from the ongoing pandemic," Pappas wrote on his Twitter account. "At the same time, we must encourage vaccinations and ensure that testing capacity continues to be dramatically expanded to help people stay safe at home, at school, and at work."
The York Board of Selectman at its meeting on Monday implemented a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for town employees in the event the Supreme Court allowed the mandate to go forward. Instead, no mandate will go into effect.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH