Senate passes resolution to defund, repeal Biden vaccine mandate

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Senate Republicans successfully forced a vote on a resolution aimed at nullifying the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers in a 52-48 vote. 

While the measure is not expected to see movement in the Democrat-controlled lower chamber, two Democratic lawmakers — Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) — joined GOP lawmakers in voting for the measure. 

Under the mandate — which is expected to take hold Jan. 4, has been halted by the courts — employers with more than 100 employees would be required to have employees vaccinated or mandatory weekly testing for COVID-19. 

Republicans led by Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.) used the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a tool that allows the minority to force a vote on a measure to overturn a federal rule. 

The Senate passed a resolution to nullify President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large employers.
The Senate passed a resolution to nullify President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large employers.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

GOP lawmakers in both chambers have slammed the mandate, arguing that it is an executive overreach and unconstitutional, adding they believe it is a slippery slope toward other forms of federal mandates. 

“Imagine the next time it happens when you’re on the wrong side of whatever the merits of the case would be,”  Braun said at a press conference on Wednesday. 

“That’s why for me it was easy to do, we quickly got all Republicans on board now. It’s bipartisan. I would say this and want to hear from the other senators, I hope members in the House, Democrats in places, check with your constituents and make sure that they’re not part of the 86 percent of Americans that say, when you put it in these terms, either get it or you lose your job. You’re on the wrong side of the issue.” 

The mandate would've required employers with over 100 employees to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing.
The mandate would’ve required employers with over 100 employees to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

The White House has indicated that President Biden will veto the measure in the unlikely chance that it passes the House. 

“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. If it comes to the president’s desk, he will veto it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

The resolution passed in Senate on a 52-48 vote.
The resolution passed in Senate on a 52-48 vote.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

 “We’ve got a new variant and cases are rising. President’s been clear. We’ll use every tool to protect the American people, and we hope others will join us in that effort.”  

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