Grande: Doing the right thing
Grande writes, "North Dakota has joined three separate lawsuits to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate push. A federal court issued an injunction to stop OSHA from implementing and enforcing a mandate for large companies and several lawsuits have been consolidated in the Sixth Circuit."
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and his team are very busy, and that is something else to be thankful for this holiday season. North Dakota has joined three separate lawsuits to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate push. A federal court issued an injunction to stop OSHA from implementing and enforcing a mandate for large companies and several lawsuits have been consolidated in the Sixth Circuit. More on this below.
The other two lawsuits are over Executive Orders that apply the federal vaccine mandate to contractors working with the federal government and through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services . These two lawsuits are far more important to North Dakotans, and I applaud the attorney general for joining the fight.
Of course, every time the attorney general initiates or joins a lawsuit pushing back on federal overreach there is a flurry of angry comments and letters to the editor complaining about the waste of taxpayer money, etc. Strangely, the people voicing these opinions generally support the $1.1 billion “Infrastructure" bill, and the even worse “Build Back Better" bill. The truth based on recent history is that the attorney general’s actions have protected jobs and our pocketbooks.
In 2015 the state stood up to the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan , challenged the Bureau of Land Management's Fracking Rule and led the successful multi-state fight against EPA's Waters of the US Rule . Standing up for consumers, the coal industry, the oil and gas industry, and production agriculture saved jobs and saved money for the people of our state. Not a bad year.
Fast forward to 2021 and it is again a target rich environment for the attorney general, sadly. The federal vaccine mandate that was to be enforced by OSHA is clearly unconstitutional federal overreach and OSHA suspended enforcement of the rule last week. In character, the Biden administration told businesses to move forward with the mandate and many, far too many, will comply because when it comes to Washington and big business it’s just one big happy family.
There are some positive signs though with reports that Disney and Lowes are suspending vaccine mandates for employees. Some businesses have discovered that goodies from their cronies in D.C. are not much help if you don’t have enough employees to open the door.
While it gets less notice, the lawsuit challenging the mandate on federal contractors is vital to this state. For families that got together over Thanksgiving the chances are very good that someone at the table works for, provides services for, or sells products to a federal contractor. If this order is allowed to stand the ripple effects will be felt across the state.
Likewise, the lawsuit challenging the CMS mandate is very important for North Dakota. Large health systems have made their decision, but smaller providers already face a critical shortage of skilled workers, and the CMS mandate will further restrict access to quality care.
As for me and my family, we are thankful our elected representatives are standing up and pushing back.
Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.