Tucked deep into the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill that progressive Democrats hope to ram through Congress is a new plan to put what one writer calls “crippling” fines on businesses that fail to enforce vaccine mandates to the extent the Biden administration wants.
The spending proposal before Congress has the support of a majority of House Democrats, but has so far not won over enough Senate Democrats to allow for passage there, even under a procedural gimmick that would allow the bill to pass with all Republicans opposed.
Although most of the bill is focused on doling out dollars to social programs, on Saturday, a provision was added in a version of the bill that cleared the Budget Committee and went to the House floor, according to Forbes.
The bill now features, on page 168 of its more than 2,400 pages, a change in the schedule of “crippling” fines for employers who are adjudged to have put employees at risk jacks up financial penalties by up to 10 times the level in current law, Forbes’ Adam Andrzejewski wrote.
Instead of fines of up to $7,000 for a serious infraction, an employer could be hit with a fine of up to $70,000.
What the Occupational Health and Safety Administration concludes is a willful or repeated violation could now cost $700,000, up from $70,000.
Over the summer, OSHA issued an “emergency temporary standard” that classified COVID-19 as a workplace hazard for the health care sector, setting the stage for a similar ruling in all workplaces.
Some, like Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, have already called for pushback against Biden’s rules.
Those businesses should openly rebel against any such rule. https://t.co/v52ZNgTrGh
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) September 9, 2021
Andrzejewski, a Forbes senior contributor, explained the bottom line.
“If the legislation is enacted, OSHA could levy draconian fines to enforce Biden’s vaccine mandate, a move that could rapidly bankrupt non-compliant companies,” he wrote.
‘The crippling change described on page 168 of the Democrats’ bill isn’t a typo or a clerical error. It was inserted by design and, likely, with the hope that no one would notice before Democrats ram the bill through Congress,” he wrote.
“If this OSHA change becomes law, the Biden administration will force American businesses to choose between vaccinating their employees, testing them weekly for Covid-19, or going bankrupt under crippling OSHA fines.”https://t.co/BFA8sf3bm5
— AI Jared Bot (@ai_jared) September 29, 2021
Andrzejewski noted that companies could face a massive cost burden.
“If enacted, it could bankrupt a whole host of companies that do not believe they should have to comply with the Biden administration’s mandate or harbor the cost of intrusive, weekly tests.”
He said if that provision becomes law, “the Biden administration may force American businesses to choose between vaccinating their employees, testing them weekly for Covid-19, or going bankrupt under crippling OSHA fines.”
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