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Business groups ask White House to delay Biden Covid vaccine mandate until after the holidays

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Business groups ask White House to delay Biden Covid vaccine mandate until after the holidays
  • White House officials at the OMB are meeting with industry lobbyists as it conducts the final review of President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate.
  • Business groups are asking the administration to wait until after the holiday shopping season to implement the rule.
  • They say the mandate could exacerbate labor shortages and supply chain problems.

Worried that President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate for private companies could cause a mass exodus of employees, business groups are pleading with the White House to delay the rule until after the holiday season.

White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget held dozens of meetings with labor unions, industry lobbyists and private individuals last week as the administration conducts its final review of the mandate, which will require businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure they are vaccinated against Covid or tested weekly for the virus. It is estimated to cover roughly two-thirds of the private sector workforce.

OMB officials have several meetings lined up Monday and Tuesday with groups representing dentists, trucking companies, staffing companies and realtors, among others.

The American Trucking Associations, which will meet with the OMB on Tuesday, warned the administration last week that many drivers will likely quit rather than get vaccinated, further disrupting the national supply chain at time when the industry is already short 80,000 drivers.

The trucking association estimates companies covered by the mandate could lose 37% of drivers through retirements, resignations and workers switching to smaller companies not covered by the requirements.

“Now placing vaccination mandates on employers, which in turn force employees to be vaccinated, will create a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve,” Chris Spear, the association’s president and CEO, wrote in a letter to the OMB last Thursday.

Retailers are also particularly concerned the mandate could trigger a spike in resignations that would exacerbate staffing problems at businesses already short on people, said Evan Armstrong, a lobbyist at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

“It has been a hectic holiday season already, as you know, with supply chain struggles,” Armstrong told CNBC after a meeting with White House officials last Monday. “This is a difficult policy to implement. It would be even more difficult during the holiday season.”

Thirty percent of unvaccinated workers said they would leave their jobs rather than comply with a vaccine or testing mandate, according to a KFF poll published last month. Goldman Sachs, in an analysis published in September, said the mandate could hurt the already tight labor market. However, it said survey responses are often exaggerated and not as many people will actually quit.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration delivered its final rule to the OMB on Oct. 12, and the mandate is expected to take effect soon after the agency completes its review.

The National Retail Federation, the trucking association and the retail leaders group are asking White House officials to give businesses 90 days to comply with the mandate, delaying implementation until late January at the earliest.

The Business Roundtable told CNBC it supports the White House’s vaccination efforts, but the administration “should allow the time necessary for employers to comply, and that includes taking into account employee retention issues, supply chain challenges and the upcoming holiday season.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which met with the OMB on Oct. 15, also asked the administration to delay implementing the rule until after the holiday season. Officials at the OMB declined to comment on the implementation period.

However, former officials at OSHA, which will enforce the mandate, told CNBC that businesses will likely have some time to implement the rules.

Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of OSHA during the Obama administration, said the administration will probably give businesses about 10 weeks, as they did for federal contractors, until employees have to be fully vaccinated.

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McAuliffe, Youngkin tied in Virginia governor race: poll

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McAuliffe, Youngkin tied in Virginia governor race: poll

Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are locked in a tied race nearly one week out from Virginia’s gubernatorial election, according to a poll released on Monday. 

The survey from the Republican polling firm Cygnal shows McAuliffe and Youngkin tied at 48.3 percent support each among likely voters in Virginia eight days from Election Day. The poll showed Republicans leading Democrats on the generic General Assembly ballot, 48.7 percent to 47.9 percent, within its margin of error. 

The poll also showed relatively high unfavorable ratings in Virginia for President Biden, who is watching this race ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Fifty percent of likely voters said they had an unfavorable view of the president, while 48 percent said they had a favorable view of him. McAuliffe, who comes from Biden’s wing of the Democratic Party, has tied himself to the president since the beginning of the campaign. Biden will campaign with McAuliffe on Tuesday in Arlington, Va. 

Down the ballot, Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Hala Ayala narrowly leads her Republican counterpart, Winsome Sears, 47.1 percent to 46.8 percent. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also led GOP opponent Jason Miyares, 47.6 percent to 46.6 percent. 

On the generic General Assembly ballot, Republicans led Democrats by just 1 percentage point. All 100 seats in the state’s House of Delegates, where Democrats currently hold a 10-seat majority, are up for grabs. 

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JUDGE: TEEN IN OPPOSITE GENDER BATHROOM DID RAPE GIRL

Facts Sufficient To Find Loudoun County Teen Engaged In Nonconsensual Sex

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JUDGE: TEEN IN OPPOSITE GENDER BATHROOM DID RAPE GIRL

A Virginia court ruled Monday that there is enough evidence to find that a teen accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student in a Loudoun County high school bathroom in May “engaged in non-consensual sex.”

The Daily Wire broke the story of the sexual assault in Loudoun County last month, bringing to light two alleged rapes at two separate schools, one of which involved Scott Smith’s daughter. Smith was later arrested at a Loudoun County school board meeting — an incident that was later used to argue to the Biden administration that federal intervention was needed to prevent such incidents from rising to the level of “domestic terrorism.”

The teen who appeared in court on Monday is standing trial on two separate cases: one involving a female student at Stone Bridge High School and a different incident in a classroom at Broad Run High School, both in the Loudoun County school district. The teen, who reportedly identifies as “gender fluid” is alleged to have assaulted Scott Smith’s daughter in a girl’s restroom at Stone Bridge while wearing a skirt. Despite indications that he had committed a serious crime, the boy was transferred.

Just months later, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement indicating that a second sexual assault happened at Broad Run.

“A teenager from Ashburn has been charged with sexual battery and abduction of a fellow student at Broad Run High School. The investigation determined on the afternoon of October 6, the 15-year-old suspect forced the victim into an empty classroom where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her,” the Sheriff’s department said in a release.

Sources told The Daily Wire last month that the two incidents involved the same alleged attacker; later reports from Fox News and the Daily Mail confirmed that the same student was involved in both incidents.

The alleged attacker was expected to plead guilty at a court hearing in Loudoun County on October 14, following the negotiation of a plea agreement. The second attack, however, happened on October 6th, and the Smith family was later told that the two incidents would be dealt with at the same time, during a hearing on October 25th.

On Monday, at the planned hearing, a judge found sufficient evidence that the teen sexually assaulted a fellow student in May. A sentencing hearing will be held at a later date, likely November.

“We are relieved that justice was served today for the Smith’s daughter.  This horrible incident has deeply affected the Smith family, and they are grateful for today’s outcome,” the family’s attorney said in a statement.

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