WH responds to SCOTUS block of vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision to stop a Biden administration plan for a vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses on Tuesday. Psaki pointed to a separate ruling from the high court today that upheld the vaccine mandate for most health workers in the country, and she said the president will call on employers to institute vaccination requirements on their own.

Video transcript

- My inbox is usually pretty fast, but if somehow you can give a slight reaction to the Supreme Court opinions? And on the substance of the matter there, how much of a blow is this to the administration's pandemic response plan and have the employer mandate part and testing-- or testing or vaccination mandate struck or halted, and how will that affect the course of the pandemic?

JEN PSAKI: Sure. Well, I know there will be a the statement from the president that should be coming into your inboxes any moment now, but let me give you a quick reaction. First, let me start with some good news, news that maybe isn't getting enough attention yet. That's our jobs here or my job here, I should say. CMS's requirement for healthcare workers to be vaccinated will save the lives of patients as well as the lives of doctors, nurses, and others who work in healthcare settings. It will cover 17 million healthcare workers at 76,000 medical facilities. The Supreme Court upheld it, and we will enforce that.

The Supreme Court's decision on the OSHA mandate essentially means that, in this pandemic, it is up to individual employers to determine whether their workplaces will be safe for employees and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers. So President Biden-- you'll see this in his statement-- will be calling on and will continue to call on businesses to immediately join those who have already stepped up, including 1/3 of Fortune 100 companies to institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities. We have to keep working together in order to get this done to save more lives.

I would note that there are a couple of good signs in terms of without this-- even in spite of the ruling that we would point to. One is that 57%, according to a Navigator poll, of Americans support vaccine requirements. According to a [? Willis ?] Towers Watson's report-- a survey of 534 US employers, a majority, 57% of respondents, have or will require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why? Because nearly-- because employees want to feel safe in the workplace, because they want to incentivize workers to come back to the workplace, and because they've seen large companies across the country implement this and see how effective it is.

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