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Tester, Daines Vote Down Private Business Vaccine Mandate

In a win for Montana businesses, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to oppose the OSHA emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandating coronavirus vaccines for private businesses with more than 100 employees. This was accomplished by a 52-48 vote in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, a procedure that allows Congress to eliminate an executive branch rule. 

The Montana Chamber of Commerce applauds Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines for their votes against this unnecessary regulation of business. They had our members in mind when they voted:

“I’ve met with Montana’s small business and community leaders in recent months who have raised serious concerns about the negative effect the private business vaccine mandate will have on our state’s economy at a critical point in our recovery,” Senator Tester said. “That’s why I joined a bipartisan majority of my colleagues in defending Montana jobs and small businesses by voting against these burdensome regulations. I strongly urge every eligible Montanan to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can end this pandemic once and for all.”

“While I’m pro-vaccine, I’m strongly anti-mandate. President Biden’s overreaching COVID-19 vaccine mandates are a threat to Montana small businesses and workers,” Senator Daines said. “Today, the Senate passed my effort to strike down Biden’s vaccine mandate on private businesses, which is good news… however, I will not stop fighting until ALL of Biden’s mandates that are hurting our small businesses and workers are blocked.”

Now on its way to the House, the CRA is the latest among several recent developments having to do with President Biden’s vaccine initiatives.  The courts have also been active, with decisions providing welcome relief to Montana businesses:

  • This fall, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen joined his peers in other states to file lawsuits against the ETS and a related mandate on federal contractors;
  • The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the ETS in a motion to stay on November 12th;
  • The ETS stay was consolidated and reissued to the 6th Circuit Court via lottery on November 16th, where it is currently under review; and
  • A U.S. district court in Georgia halted the vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide on December 7th.

The Montana Chamber continues to be a strong advocate for vaccination to control the spread of the coronavirus. We strongly opposed the President’s vaccine mandate, as it would create massive administrative and implementation burdens with equally enormous financial consequences for non-compliance. It would also likely have devastating impacts on our workforce—already near crisis levels for many employers. The Montana Chamber continues to promote vaccination goals that do not burden Montana business and exacerbate workforce challenges. 

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