Source: ET

A federal appeals court on Monday turned down an attempt by President Joe Biden’s administration to lift a preliminary injunction against its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the bid, which had been made in a motion by Department of Justice lawyers.

The ruling was unsigned and did not contain an explanation for the rejection.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Kelly, an Obama nominee, said she would have granted the motion.

The mandate in question was issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in November. It required every facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding to force workers to get a vaccine by Jan. 4, 2022, affecting some 17 million workers.

But the rule was blocked by a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judges Matthew Schelp that was later expanded by another Trump nominated judge. The judges said CMS likely lacks the authority to promulgate a vaccination rule.

The Biden administration on Nov. 30 asked the appeals court to block the injunction, claiming district courts lack jurisdiction to enjoin enforcement of a condition on Medicare funding.

“The preliminary injunction rests on a series of errors and should be immediately stayed pending appeal,” the motion stated. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra “has explicit statutory authority to require facilities voluntarily participating in Medicare and Medicaid to meet health and safety standards for the protection of patients,” it added.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson disagreed, telling the court in a response that the government did not successfully show it would successfully succeed in the case and that it would be irreparably injured absent a stay.

“Preventing defendants from enforcing CMS’s unlawful mandate pending appeal will inflict no cognizable injury—let alone irreparable harm—on them,” they wrote in the filing.

The court sided with the states, which also include Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

“The court made the right decision,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said in a statement. “This mandate would have only worsened the workforce shortage in our healthcare system, leaving Iowans without the care they need. President Biden should rescind this unlawful rule and respect the personal liberties and freedoms of our healthcare workers.”

CMS has suspended enforcement of the mandate following the injunctions.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new ruling, though it has said it remains “confident” it will ultimately prevail in court.

Two other Biden administration mandates have also been blocked for now by courts—one that was aimed at every business with 100 or more workers, and another designated for every federal contractor.