President Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages five to eleven years old on Wednesday. On Saturday, the Biden administration saw a set-back on its plans to get tens of millions of workers vaccinated against COVID-19. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily stayed the Biden administration's mandate directing private-sector workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The three-judge panel in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the new federal mandate for companies with more than 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated, or submit to weekly tests and masking. Those that defy the rules face fines as high as $14,000 per violation.
On Thursday, the Biden administration rolled out the mandate as its latest effort to goad tens of millions of unvaccinated workers to get the jab. The requirement was scheduled to take effect Jan. 4 and would affect about 84 million workers.
Over a dozen businesses and individuals, as well as the states of Texas, Louisiana, Utah and South Carolina swiftly brought a challenge arguing the mandate was constitutionally out of bounds.
The mandate is on hold pending further review by the court. The order said the legal challenge gave "cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues" with the mandate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Twitter that an emergency hearing would take place soon.
"We will have our day in court to strike down Biden's unconstitutional abuse of authority," he said.
Over the summer, President Joe Biden enacted requirements that federal employees get the jab. Earlier in the week, Biden said the new requirement was needed to increase vaccinations and end the pandemic.
"The virus will not go away by itself, or because we wish it away. We have to act," he said in a statement.
Multiple Republican-led states, including Florida and Texas, have banned employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated.