A coalition of 49 Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have announced that they will oppose funding for the enforcement of all of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates this month.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) released the statement signed by the 49 members in a post on Twitter.
The letter was addressed to House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“After February 18, 2022, government funding will expire and congressional Republicans must once again decide whether they will vote to fund a federal government that is enforcing tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the American people,” the coalition wrote.
“The Biden administration has unilaterally imposed five separate COVID-19 vaccine mandates,” the statement continued.
Biden’s vaccine dictates, announced in September, would originally have forced as many as 100 million Americans to take the vaccine despite a lack of long-term research on its side effects.
The most controversial of these diktats was a private-sector mandate that would have required privately-owned businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate either vaccination or weekly testing. After a series of legal challenges by state attorneys general, business leaders, and federal courts, the Supreme Court struck down the private sector mandate in a 6–3 decision.
However, other mandates have remained in effect.
Despite striking down the private sector mandate, the Supreme Court upheld a vaccine mandate for health care workers.
In addition, Biden’s wide-reaching mandates still require federal employees and military servicemen and women to receive the novel vaccination. In comparison to the private sector mandate, these mandates have faced significantly fewer legal challenges.
Many in the military have faced the risk of dishonorable discharge, which is comparable to a civilian felony, for refusing to get the vaccine. Most servicemembers with “sincere beliefs” against the vaccine have also been denied exemption requests, despite chaplains ruling that their beliefs were genuine and deeply held.
Now, the 49-strong GOP coalition has announced their opposition to all of Biden’s remaining vaccine mandates.
“Medical workers, men and women in uniform, federal employees, and federal contractors could face termination if they do not receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” the lawmakers wrote, “even though evidence shows these vaccines do not prevent the spread of the virus .”
The GOP coalition is also looking to challenge vaccine mandates imposed by municipalities and state governments that receive federal funding.
Washington, DC, over which Congress retains the constitutional right to “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever,” imposed a vaccine mandate recently barring citizens from entering establishments without proof of vaccination. The letter’s signatories make clear that ending the dictates in “the American people’s capital city” is particularly important.
“Congressional Republicans cannot continue to abdicate their Article I duties in hopes the judicial branch will rule in favor of the American people,” the Republicans wrote.
Concluding their letter, they vowed, “we the undersigned refuse to consider supporting any federal government funding vehicle, be it a continuing resolution or an omnibus appropriations measure, that funds the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates at any level of government.”
Several senators, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), signed onto the declaration.
The letter demonstrates a significant change in attitude among Republicans on several fronts.
For almost a year, the White House and the federal government has insisted that the CCP virus vaccine is “safe and effective,” even as study after study showed that it may be less safe and less effective than the Americans were led to believe. Still, several Republicans have in the past recommended that Americans receive the vaccine, though they also maintained that citizens should be free to choose.
Biden’s health, military, and federal worker vaccine mandates, while controversial, also have received significantly less criticism from lawmakers than the private sector mandate received. Wednesday’s statement shows that these other vaccine mandates are becoming increasingly controversial among GOP lawmakers.
The Republican signatories are also setting their sights on local- and state-imposed vaccine mandates, some of which have left the unvaccinated thoroughly ostracized for their skepticism. This as well is a significant policy shift for Republicans who, while critical of the mandates, have made no effort to target them by withholding federal funds.
Even with its wide swath of support among Republican lawmakers, this effort to kill any federal funding bill that makes vaccine mandates possible will need to gain more traction if it is to succeed.
In the House, the 45 GOP signatories simply do not have the votes to stop a bill. Even if every single Republican signed onto the effort, it is likely that the Democrats—who have marched in lockstep with Biden’s CCP virus policy—would vote unanimously to advance the bill. Given their slight majority, stopping vaccine mandate funding in the House would require a handful of defections by Democrats.
The effort has a higher chance of success in the Senate, but this would also require that several more GOP senators sign onto the plan. In total, 41 senators would need to be on board with the proposal to deny the 60-vote threshold to end debate on a measure. At the moment, only four have signed on.
In November, Senate Republicans, joined by Sens. Joe Manchin (DW. Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), united unanimously to formally challenge the private sector mandate.