Supreme Court blocks President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer discusses the Supreme Court’s ruling that blocks a “cornerstone” of President Joe Biden’s COVID policy requiring employee vaccinations for large businesses.
2:14 | 01/14/22

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Transcript for Supreme Court blocks President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies
- Now let's bring in our senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer, who covers the Supreme Court for us. Hey, Devin, help us understand how the court could uphold one vaccine mandate but then not the other. - Well, it really boiled down, Linsey, to how the justices interpreted the intent of Congress when it created these federal agencies. The court said the law creating the centers for Medicaid and Medicaid care services specifically authorized the health secretary to protect the health and safety of patients, including, the law says, infection control protocols to make sure they're in place at hospitals. So that was in place and that law. On the other hand, all the court's conservative justices said that the 1970 OSHA Act that created it was far less clear and that if Congress at that time had intended to allow a sweeping vaccination mandate, they should've specified that in the law. - And in the meantime, as we've been reporting, the administration has been really racing trying to get a handle on the soaring number of cases and hospitalizations. How much of a setback then is this ruling? - Well, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who oversees OSHA, said tonight, Linsey, that this is a major setback to the health and safety of American workers. Remember, these two mandates were the cornerstone of the Biden administration's plan to vaccinate millions of more Americans and really get us out of the pandemic. They needed those employers to help with the vaccinations. In fact, by their own estimate, this OSHA rule would've saved 6,500 lives over six months. So a grim assessment from them tonight now that that rule is not in effect. The president vowing to keep pushing for this, but no question it's gonna be harder, Linsey. - And what does this mean for the thousands of Americans already subjected to vaccine requirements by their employers? Does the court's decision change that in any way? - Well, it does not change that. Millions of employees in this country are already required by their employers to be vaccinated. That's true here at ABC News. In fact, Citigroup tonight, one of the largest commercial banks in the country, Linsey, announced that their vaccine mandate announced back in October will go into effect at the end of this month. And they will start firing employees who don't get the shot. So those policies are still very much in effect in private workplaces regardless of this decision. LINSEY DAVIS: Just not mandated at this point by the federal government. - By the government. Right. LINSEY DAVIS: Devin Dwyer, our thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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