On Wednesday night the U.S. Senate voted 52-48 in favor of a resolution to do away with President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees. The resolution needed only a simple majority to pass, with Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) joining all 50 Republicans in voting in favor of the mandate.
The effort was spearheaded by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).
No one should be forced to choose between getting a vaccine and losing their job.— Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun) December 9, 2021
This mandate puts millions of livelihoods and every Americans' freedoms at stake.
President Biden must heed the message the Senate sent tonight in a bipartisan vote: Abandon this overreach now. pic.twitter.com/UDJJcxU7Le
Senate Republicans had tried to tie vaccine mandates to a continuing resolution (CR) funding the government last week, but that amendment proposed by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) failed. In the House, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and other House Freedom Caucus members were also hoping to tie the two together.
While the resolution is not likely to pass the House or avoid a veto from Biden, it's nevertheless a noteworthy victory for the GOP.
As Jordain Carney reported for The Hill:
The resolution faces an uphill path in the House, where Republicans aren’t able to use a similar fast-track process to force a vote over the objections of Democratic leadership. Instead, Republicans are hoping to get the simple majority needed to force a vote through a discharge petition, which will require support from a handful of House Democrats.
But Republicans view Wednesday’s Senate vote as a significant win, and it’s the first time they’ve been able to use the Congressional Review Act to successfully get a resolution targeting a Biden rule through the Senate.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Tuesday's press briefing that President Joe Biden will veto the provision.
"So, we certainly hope the Senate — Congress — will stand up to the anti-vaccine and testing crowd, and we’re going to continue to work to implement these." she said. "If it comes to the President’s desk, he will veto it. And we’ve got a new variant, and cases are rising. The President has been clear we’ll use every tool to protect the American people, and we hope others will join us in that effort," Psaki continued.
While Psaki frames it as a matter of the "anti-vaccine and testing crowd," it is not the vaccine that Republican members have a problem with, but rather the mandate. Sen. Braun, for instance, supports the vaccine, and is quoted by Carney as saying Americans should get vaccinated "unless they have a good reason."
Biden's vaccine mandate has not merely run into troubles in the Senate. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had temporarily ruled against the mandate last month, and less than a week later upheld its ruling.
Biden's five mandates:— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) December 7, 2021
OSHA - stayed nationally
CMS - enjoined nationally
Contractor - enjoined nationally
Federal employee - punted to next year
Military - still moving forward, unvaxed "flagged," blocked from promotion/reenlistment
Other versions of the mandate, such as the mandate for federal contractors, as Katie reported on Tuesday, and the mandate for Medicare and Medicaid workers in ten states, as Katie reported last month.
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