GE suspends Covid vaccine, take a look at guidelines after excessive courtroom nixes Biden mandate

An employee helps install a traction motor on the truck of a General Electric Evolution Series Tier 4 diesel locomotive at the GE Manufacturing Solutions facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Luke Sharret | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Electric suspended its Covid vaccine and testing requirements on Friday after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s mandate, a company spokesman told CNBC.

GE, which had 174,000 employees at the end of 2020, has encouraged its employees to get vaccinated, the spokesman said.

The conservative majority of the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision, called the Biden administration’s requirements a “blunt instrument” that “makes no distinctions by industry or risk of exposure to Covid-19.”

In a statement following the court decision, President Joe Biden urged companies to voluntarily implement the vaccination and testing rules.

“The court has ruled that my administration cannot use the authority granted to it by Congress to require this action,” Biden said. “But that doesn’t stop me from using my voice as president to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect the health and economy of Americans.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has vowed to use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s existing power to hold companies accountable for protecting workers from Covid.

“We urge all employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly to most effectively combat this deadly virus in the workplace,” Walsh said in a statement Thursday. “Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers in the workplace.”

The American Medical Association, one of the largest medical associations in the US, contradicted that the Supreme Court blocked “one of the most effective tools in the fight against further transmission and death from this aggressive virus”.

“Workplace transmission has been an important factor in the spread of Covid-19,” said AMA President Dr. Gerald Harmon. “More than ever, workers in all settings across the country need sound, evidence-based protection from Covid-19 infection, hospitalization and death.”

Harmon urged companies to protect their workers from the disease. A number of large companies – including Citigroup, Nike and Columbia Sportswear – have announced plans to lay off unvaccinated workers.

The Covid-Omicron variant is driving new infections to unprecedented levels. The US is reporting an average of more than 786,000 new infections each day, a 29% increase from the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Additionally, based on federal data going back to the summer of 2020, hospitalizations are at a pandemic high. About 151,000 Americans were in hospitals with Covid as of Friday, a seven-day moving average of health and social services data shows, up 23%. from a week earlier. That number includes both patients who have been admitted to hospital due to Covid and those who have tested positive after admission.

— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report

After courtroom nixes eviction ban, race is on for federal assist | Leisure

BOSTON (AP) – The latest court ruling against a national eviction moratorium has heightened concerns that tenants are not receiving tens of billions of dollars in promised federal aid in time to avoid being thrown out of their homes.

A federal judge found Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had exceeded their powers by imposing the moratorium last year. Housing advocates believe the ban saved lives and should not only continue but be extended beyond the original June 30 deadline.

The moratorium remains in place for the time being: a judge upheld the court order following an appeal by the Ministry of Justice.

Without the moratorium, proponents say the only thing standing between many tenants and eviction is the nearly $ 50 billion Congress allocated for rental support. Proponents say very few tenants have received any of the money – which needs to be distributed by individual states – and fear that if the moratorium is lifted, it will not get to those most in need in time.

“Unfortunately, rental aid funds aren’t reaching families in trouble nearly as quickly as they need,” said Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for Boston civil rights attorneys. “Here in Massachusetts, renters report that filing a rental assistance application is like submitting an application into a black hole.”

The government didn’t do much better last year when several states didn’t spend it Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds They had reserved for rental support, proponents said. Among them were New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kansas.

Diane Yentel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said some of the same problems are being seen now, namely landlords refusing to participate, programs refusing to give money directly to renters, and cumbersome application processes.

“The CDC moratorium is essential to our efforts to prevent people from being evicted before they can receive rental support,” said Caitlin Cedfeldt, an attorney with Legal Aid in Nebraska.

Landlords, many of whom have challenged the moratorium, say the court’s decision increases pressure on the federal and state governments to speed up the distribution of rental subsidies.

“Rather than upholding legally questionable guidelines, the government needs to cut red tape at all levels and focus on efficiently distributing the $ 46 billion rental support,” said Bob Pinnegar, President and CEO of the National Apartment Association. in an email interview. “Only if the tenants and providers of rental apartments, who need them most urgently, can get hold of the funds for the rental support, can they prevent irrevocable damage to our country’s housing supply.”

President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday announced changes aimed at just that. Government agencies running the rent relief program must provide assistance directly to tenants if landlords decide not to participate, Gene Sperling said. Sperling is the White House coordinator of von Biden’s American rescue plan, a comprehensive pandemic relief package worth $ 1.9 trillion that was passed to help the country beat the coronavirus and restore the economy to health. It also cuts the waiting time for tenant assistance to be provided if landlords are not involved, Sperling said.

“We need to make sure that we are fast enough to implement these emergency funds to meet the growing demands,” he said.

The eviction ban was introduced last year to prevent families from losing their homes and moving to shelters or sharing overcrowded conditions with relatives or friends. According to health officials, this could worsen the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.

Proponents of the moratorium argue that this is necessary because the pandemic is still a threat and so many people are at risk of eviction or foreclosure. Nearly 4 million people in the United States said they would face eviction or foreclosure in the next two months. This emerges from the bi-weekly budget impulse survey by the Census Bureau.

“In the short term, Congress and the Biden government have the power to strengthen the moratorium across the country and stop all evictions for the remainder of the pandemic,” said Dawn Phillips, executive director of Right To The City Alliance, a national coalition of 90 people Housing Justice Organizations said in an email interview.

A handful of states are taking up the loophole themselves. The state of Connecticut and the city of Philadelphia both have their own eviction moratoriums.

“While we are ahead of the curve compared to our peers to get our rent relief money, we still have a long way to go,” said Connecticut Democratic governor Ned Lamont, who indicated his state’s moratorium is likely to remain in place would be in place for another month. “… We try to work with tenants and landlords to put something together that will allow people to stay in their homes much longer.”

In Philadelphia, lawmakers attribute a local moratorium to helping reduce evictions from about 20,000 a year to just 5,000 last year. In addition, a program launched in September must apply for rental assistance to landlords before going to court to evict tenants. The so-called diversion program has been credited with preventing thousands of evictions.

“We had to create alternatives to the eviction,” said Helen Gym, a Philadelphia City Council member who helped implement the program.

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Associate press writer Susan Haigh, of Norwich, Connecticut, contributed to this report.

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