A resolution to overturn Biden’s vaccine mandate passed 52-48 in the Senate Wednesday, but is unlikely to become law.
By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News
The U.S. Senate voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses Wednesday night, after two Democrats backed the Republican position.
President Biden’s mandate, which requires private companies with 100 or more employees to enforce rules ensuring workers are either vaccinated against Covid or take regular tests and wear a mask, is set to come into force on January 4.
On Wednesday, a repeal resolution was brought to the Senate under the Congressional Review Act, although the resolution still has to clear the House of Representatives, held by the Democrats, and will likely be vetoed by the President if it does.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who sponsored the resolution, said the mandate had “got Main Street America scared,” calling it an example of the “heavy hand of government”.
Speaking before the vote, he said business owners are “worried about, well, what does this mean on other issues?” explaining: “Anybody who thinks this is a good idea, imagine the next time it happens when you’re on the wrong side on whatever the merits of the case would be.”
The resolution was passed 52-48, after two Democrat lawmakers, Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, joined their Republican colleagues in voting to repeal the mandate.
In a statement Tuesday, Tester said he intended to join his colleagues in “defending Montana jobs and small businesses against these burdensome regulations” because he had “repeatedly heard concerns from Montana’s small business and community leaders about the negative effect the private business vaccine mandate will have on their bottom lines and our state’s economy.”
Manchin also released a statement ahead of the vote, in which he explained: “I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from Covid-19.”
The mandate has faced strong opposition since its announcement, including an order to stay the passed by a federal appeals court on the fifth circuit last month. In all, 27 states filed legal challenges to the mandate, subsequently collating the legal actions into one. That case may go all the way to the Supreme Court, where Justices will have to decide whether the mandate contravenes Americans’ constitutional rights.
“It’s daunting to families as they’re facing higher bills for their gas and their heating,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said ahead of the Senate vote. “They are very concerned about what this would do to their long-term ability to get a job, keep a job. I think they realize that this is an invasion into their own abilities to make decisions about themselves in their health care.”
But leading Democrats have dismissed objections to the mandate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY was scathing about the Republican’s resolution, saying earlier Wednesday: “Some of the anti-vaxxers here in this chamber remind me of what happened 400 years ago when people were clinging to the fact that the sun revolved around the Earth. They just didn’t believe science. Or 500 years ago when they were sure the Earth was flat.”