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US Supreme Court to Take Up Biden Vaccine Mandate Cases 

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FILE - A health worker administers COVID-19 vaccine at the Keystone First Wellness Center in Chester, Pa., Dec. 15, 2021. On Dec. 17, a federal appellate panel allowed President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for larger private employers to move ahead.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hear oral arguments in challenges to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 workers and another vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The court set both hearings for Jan. 7.

A group of 27 mostly Republican-led states, along with businesses and business groups have challenged the mandate for larger companies, arguing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have the authority to impose such restrictions.

The mandate says workers must be vaccinated or wear face masks at work and be tested weekly. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled last week that the mandate could take effect.

Two appeals courts have blocked the separate mandate for health care workers in about half of the 50 U.S. states. That rule calls for health care workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 and could affect more than 17 million workers.

It applies to health care providers that receive funding under the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs for people who are elderly, disabled or live on lower incomes.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement after the court’s announcement that the Biden administration is “confident in the legal authority for both policies” and that the Justice Department will “vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court.”

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