Senate Republicans aim to put political pressure on Democrats if Biden COVID vaccine mandate is finalized

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -Business owners around the country are still waiting on an expected Biden administration rule which would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly negative testing for employees.

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) says he supports vaccinations, but not a mandate that may cost people their jobs and freedoms. Even as Democrats have control of the House and Senate, Braun says Republicans still have a tool that may disrupt an anticipated vaccine rule from the Biden Administration.

Wednesday, Braun led a press conference on Capitol Hill along with a handful of fellow Republican senators. He said he has support from 40 Republican senators to use the Congressional Review Act, a formal process for Congress to challenge an executive administrative rule.

While Republicans would need Democrats to break with President Biden to formally block the mandate, Braun says this move is just as much about putting pressure on Democrats to take a vote which shows whether they support a mandate. He says he’s hoping that may make some members nervous enough to ask the Biden Administration to reverse course.

Braun said, “My preference would be just pull it [vaccine mandate] back and don’t force everybody to be on record. If you’ve got a bad idea and it’s clear that it is. Go on to something else or quit coming up with them in the first place.”

Senator Roger Marshall [R-KS]also pointed to Tuesday’s election in Virginia where Republican Glenn Younkin defeated Democrat Terry McCauliffe as a warning sign for the political ramifications of a vaccine mandate.

Marshall said, “I hope President Biden was listening to the people of Virginia yesterday in a state that he won by double digits, a Democrat governor lost. I think the Virginia people were telling the president we still value our freedoms, our individual liberties. I hope the president heard loud and clear to never get between a mama bear and her cubs.”

The White House has not yet said when it will release its finalized workplace vaccine rule, but Republicans say they are anticipating it will come as early as this week.

In September, President Biden announced he would use OSHA to institute the rule on private employers who have 100 or more employees. Public health experts applauded the announcement, while critics say it will cost people their jobs.

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