AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit challenging the COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In the petition, the Governor urges the court to vacate what he calls “OSHA’s unlawful mandate” and confirm that his Executive Order GA-40 is not preempted.

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“This court should vacate OSHA’s mandate, which ‘runs afoul of the statute from which it draws its power and likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty,” reads the petition. “OSHA is trying to deliver on President Biden’s empty threat that ‘if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as President to get them out of the way.’ Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-40 need not yield to President Biden’s unconstitutional power grab.”

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At President Joe Biden’s direction, the OSHA issued a rule earlier this month requiring U.S. employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergoing weekly tests for the virus by Jan 4. Businesses that don’t comply face thousands of dollars in fines.

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More than 20 states, including Texas are challenging the rule. Some religious groups have also argued the mandate is unconstitutional. But Biden and other federal officials argue the mandate is necessary to end the COVID-19 pandemic and fully reopen the economy. Staff