By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Both U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis praised this week’s decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw the federal vaccine mandate for employees of large companies.
Both senators have been vocal in opposition to the mandate proposed by President Joe Biden, saying individuals should be able to choose their own health care. Barrasso has regularly said he is “pro-vaccine, but anti-mandate.”
“It’s about time the Biden administration officially withdrew its overreaching OSHA vaccine mandate on private businesses. As the Supreme Court recently ruled, this mandate is unconstitutional. Thousands of Wyoming workers can now make their own health care decisions without the fear of losing their job,” Barrasso said. “Now the administration must do the same for millions of health care workers. Health care facilities across the nation are short staffed. We shouldn’t make it even harder for hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to get people the care they need.”
OSHA said Tuesday it will withdraw the requirement that workers at companies with 100 or more employees either get vaccinated or be regularly tested for coronavirus. The news came in a statement on the agency’s website.
Lummis also cited the right of an individual to choose his or her health care in hailing OSHA’s decision.
“Businesses across Wyoming are working hard to recover from the pandemic and from rising inflation. This mandate would have forced employers to step into the relationship between a patient and their doctor,” Lummis said. “I am vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to discuss the vaccine with their doctor, but it is ultimately a personal decision, and employers shouldn’t be forced to make that decision for their employees. It is irresponsible for the federal government to further burden Wyoming businesses with job-killing mandates.”
Earlier this year, Barrasso and Lummis joined 44 of their fellow senators and 136 representatives in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support a block of the mandate on private businesses.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court halted the implementation of the federal vaccine mandate as it applied to workers at large companies.
Wyoming had joined in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the mandate and Gov. Mark Gordon said he was “delighted” to hear of the court’s decision.
President Joe Biden announced in September that he would require federal employees , health care workers and workers at companies employing more than 100 people to get the coronavirus vaccine.
In response, Wyoming filed three lawsuits seeking to block the mandate for employees of large companies, health care workers and federal contractors and their employees.