Freedom Caucus calls for government shutdown over vaccine mandates

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The conservative House Freedom Caucus called on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday to block any stopgap government funding bill that does not bar spending federal dollars on enforcing vaccine mandates.

The letter was sent as House Democrats attempt to craft a continuing resolution to keep the federal government fully functional through mid-January. Current funding expires at the end of Friday.

In a letter to McConnell (R-Ky.), Freedom Caucus members blasted what they described as President Biden’s “very damaging, unAmerican, and in the worst cases, unlawful vaccine mandates” and called on Senate Republicans to use “all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR [continuing resolution] unless it prohibits funding — in all respects — for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), one of the most vocal critics of vaccine mandates, said Wednesday it is “time to fight” against what he argues is government overreach that could have negative repercussions on workers in key industries.

“In what world can Republicans look at the American people with a straight face and claim to fight for them if they vote to fund the government tyrannically forcing them to get the jab or lose their job?” he told The Post in a statement.

In September, the Biden administration announced that COVID-19 vaccines were mandatory for federal employees and contractors, with individuals having to receive the jab or produce a weekly negative COVID-19 test. The White House also announced that companies with 100 or more employees would need to ensure their staffs are vaccinated or are tested weekly and wear masks, though implementation of that mandate has been stalled amid an ongoing court battle.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas)
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said it’s “time to fight” against what he calls government overreach.
Rod Lamkey – CNP / MEGA

A number of Republican senators have also expressed opposition to vaccine mandates, with Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana leading an effort to overturn the Biden administration’s mandate for businesses earlier this month. However, it’s unclear how many GOPers are willing to risk a partial government shutdown over the issue.

“If Republicans choose obstruction, there will be a shutdown entirely because of their own dysfunction,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Tuesday.

The continuing government funding resolution is expected to pass the House whenever it was introduced. However, it must clear the evenly divided Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster before the chamber can vote on its passage.


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