The U.S. Senate voted 52-48 to repeal President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate for private businesses on December 8, 2021.
Largely a symbolic reversal to the Biden administration, this vote featured a partisan crossover with moderate Democrats such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) joining Republicans to reverse the mandate under the “Congressional Review Act.”
Under this act, Congress would be allowed to review controversial executive orders.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) sponsored the bill declaring the Biden executive order had “Main Street scared.”
“It’s got Main Street America scared,” Braun stated. “They’re worried about, well, what does this mean on other issues? 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.”
“I’m not crazy about mandates,” Tester said on NBC News on December 7.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently stated that he does “not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses.”
“I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses. That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses,” Manchin remarked.
Before this vote in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) likened Republican opposition to vaccine mandates with flat-earthers.
“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,” Schumer proclaimed.
The Biden administration experienced a reversal on December 7 when a federal judge issued an injunction overturning the vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
The federal judges asserted that the plaintiffs are “likely [to] succeed in their claim that the President exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress.”
Despite the vote to repeal the vaccine mandate on December 8, the bill will likely die in the House, where Democrats hold a slim majority.
Moderate Democrats have become more hesitant about passing vaccine mandates.
For example, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), manifested concerns that vaccine mandates like the one the Biden administration rolled out could create a shortage of public employees at the state level.
Whitmer said to Daily News in Greenville, “We’re an employer too, the state of Michigan is. I know if that mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees. That’s why I haven’t proposed a mandate at the state level. Some states have. We have not. We’re waiting to see what happens in court.”
Judge Stan Baker stated, “The Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe. However, even in time of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities.”