Senate Appears Ready To Axe Joe Biden’s Employer Vaccine Mandate
The United States Senate appears poised to approve a measure that would repeal President Joe Biden‘s employer vaccine mandate after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Jon Tester (D-Montana), who are more conservative than the rest of their party’s colleagues, expressed their support for the resolution.
“The basis of my decision is we don’t like mandates, and quite frankly, I heard a lot from my business community that they didn’t like — workability was bad,” Tester said in a statement on Tuesday. Manchin shared his objections to Biden’s edict last week.
A third Democrat, Sen. Mark Kelly (Arizona), said that he is “looking at the legislation,” although he did not say which direction he is leaning.
Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-New York) dismissed concerns that his caucus’s internal splintering posed a threat to Biden’s orders, which have already been put on hold by two federal courts.
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“The position to me is pretty clear and that is that the more people that are vaccinated, the safer America will be, and we should encourage everything we can do to do it. That is the overwhelming view of the president and of the vast majority of Democrats,” Schumer said.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana), the lead sponsor of the resolution, however, told The Hill on Tuesday that “he is hoping to get another two or three Democrats on board.”
If the bill passes, it will then go to the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a slim five-seat majority from which Republican lawmakers – who are united in their opposition to Biden’s directives – believe that they can siphon off enough votes to send it to the president.
Braun noted that “there are 30 [Democrats] in swing districts that are going to have to” weigh their political futures against supporting Biden’s efforts to get the population inoculated, predicting that Biden is “going to have a very tough time if it does become bipartisan in both chambers. Then he’s saying, ‘Hey, my bad idea, I’m digging even deeper on it.'”
This scenario has a greater likelihood to occur if Braun manages to bring more Democrats, particularly those who are up for reelection next year in critical swing states, into his fray.
Meanwhile, at a media briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that Biden is holding firm on his mission to protect as many Americans as possible against the spread of Covid-19.
“The president has a great relationship with Sen. Tester, one with Sen. Manchin, and he has always had constructive and open dialogue with both of them. Our view and the view of many Americans is that if people aren’t vaccinated, having them test once a week is quite reasonable as we’re thinking about how to protect our workplaces, how to protect stores and retail locations as people are out shopping for Christmas and the holidays, how to protect schools and public places. And we also know that more than 100 leading public health experts have endorsed this rule,” she said.
Psaki added that “if it comes to the president’s desk, he will veto it.”
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