US Senate rejects Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers

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WASHINGTON – The United States Senate passed a resolution Wednesday evening to block President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private employers, with every Republican and two Democrats voting to prevent this pending requirement.

Democratic Meaning. Jon Tester from Montana and Joe Manchin III from West Virginia joined the GOP in supporting the resolution, which passed 52-48.

Tester, a centrist Democrat representing a conservative state, cited the concerns of business owners and other voters in deciding to oppose the vaccination mandate that is expected to go into effect on Jan.4.

“Over the past few months, I have repeatedly heard concerns from leaders of small businesses and communities in Montana about the negative effect that the vaccine mandate of private companies will have on their bottom line and the economy. our state, “he said in a statement before the vote. .

Tester said that with his vote he was “standing up for jobs and small businesses in Montana against these onerous regulations.”

The Senate reprimand was the latest blow to the president’s proposed vaccine requirements, which faced a host of legal challenges.

Related warrants demanding vaccines for healthcare workers and federal contractors have been temporarily blocked as lawsuits weave through the court system.

The next step in Congress’ effort to end the requirement on private employers would be a vote in the Democratic-controlled United States House, where the 212 Republican lawmakers have co-sponsored a related resolution sponsored by Pennsylvania Representative Fred Keller.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would veto the resolution if it made it to his office.

GOP denounces mandate as too far federal

Under the vaccination requirement described by Biden earlier this fall, private employers with at least 100 employees must either ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have weekly tests.

The requirement is expected to affect some 84 million American workers, and non-compliant companies could face fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Republicans in Congress are challenging the vaccine requirement under the Congressional Review Act, which can be used by federal lawmakers to overturn certain regulations of federal agencies. Voting under this law cannot be obstructed, so only a simple majority is required.

GOP opponents of the requirement have decried it as an undue assault on federal authority and will have significant effects on the U.S. workforce at a time when companies are struggling to find enough workers.

“It’s not about being anti-vaccine,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) Said at a press conference Wednesday, noting that it was part of the Pfizer vaccine trial. . “I am pro-science, pro-vaccine. But I am against warrants.

Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who survived childhood polio, made a similar argument in the Senate on Wednesday, noting his own support for vaccines as he highlighted court rulings that have already blocked certain aspects of the vaccination requirement.

“The United States of America is a free country. The federal government, the elites in Washington, cannot micromanage the personal choices of citizens without a legitimate basis in law and the Constitution, ”McConnell said. “And that will double for presidents who far exceed the limits of their function and authority.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), expressed frustration at the Republicans’ argument that while they may have chosen to be vaccinated, others should not be forced to do.

“If the only damage was to the person – themselves who haven’t been vaccinated – maybe some people would say it’s okay,” Schumer said. “But it’s not just for them: when there are a large number of unvaccinated people, even if it is not the majority, it allows the COVID virus to spread, to mutate, to create new variants and create new, stronger variants.

“The biggest thing that separates us from the end of the pandemic is the Americans who refused to be vaccinated,” added Schumer.

Americans divided over mandate

A Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found Americans to be strongly divided over the vaccine requirement for private sector employers, 50% in favor versus 47% against.

A slightly larger share of voters supported national and local immunization mandates for public safety officers, such as police, firefighters and first responders, with 55% in favor and 44% against.

The Biden administration released a statement Tuesday evening saying the president “strongly opposes” the Senate resolution to cancel its vaccine requirement.

“At a time when COVID is on the rise, a new variant is on the run and more Americans are choosing to get vaccinated, it makes no sense for Congress to cancel this much-needed protection of our workforce- of work ”, according to the administration’s policy statement.

“This puts our recovery at risk, and a vote for this resolution risks a return to the shutdowns, layoffs and closures that result from allowing COVID to more easily spread in the workplace. “



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