Small business group intends to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandate

A small business advocacy group on Thursday unveiled plans to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration over the president’s mandate for many employers to require that workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing. 

The Job Creators Network announced in a press release that it plans to file the lawsuit with some of its small business members, along with support from the group’s newly launched Legal Action Fund “set up to defend small businesses from attacks that hurt their ability to succeed.” 

Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the conservative group launched by Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, said in a statement that President Biden’s vaccine requirement for employers with 100 or more workers “is unconstitutional and a dramatic overreach of federal authority.” 

“To hold the Biden Administration accountable and stand up for small businesses, Job Creators Network plans to file a lawsuit to block the implementation of this order,” Ortiz added. 

He argued that small businesses “are already contending with a historic labor shortage and this order will add expensive new barriers to finding and keeping employees, causing significant harm at the worst possible time.” 

The announcement comes after Ortiz wrote in an op-ed published by Fox Business last week that while “vaccination is the best way to prevent a bad case of COVID-19,” it is “more effective and more American to spread this message by persuasion rather than compulsion.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment. 

Biden has directed the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce the vaccine order for employers, which is expected to affect 80 million workers.

The mandate comes as the Biden administration has also announced similar vaccine requirements for federal employees and health care workers.

A recent Morning Consult-Politico poll conducted between Sept. 11 and Sept. 13 found that nearly 3 in 5 American adults support Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses, with 56 percent backing his requirements for most federal employees and contractors, who don’t have the option to choose COVID-19 testing as an alternative to getting vaccinated. 

While Biden has defended the orders as essential to boost vaccination rates in the face of rising cases and fatalities fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, Republicans and business groups have railed against the mandates, characterizing them as federal overreach. 

A group of 24 Republican state attorneys general on Thursday sent a letter to Biden threatening to take legal action over the order for businesses with 100 or more employees, arguing that the president seemed to have a “goal” to “sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public’s health.” 

“If your Administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law,” they wrote.