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Republican senators Wednesday said they believe there are enough Democrats in the House of Representatives to force a vote on the measure to roll back President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses — a measure the Senate is expected to pass.
“We’re gonna pass this Congressional Review Act on a bipartisan basis in the Senate sending a very clear message that this is an overreach by the Biden administration and we need to stop it,” Sen. John Hoeven R-N.D., said in a press conference with other Republicans.
“And I think in the House, there a very good chance that they will get enough people to sign on to this, to actually force a vote,” Hoeven added. “Now, we understand that, that when that goes to the administration the president may well veto it. But we’ve sent a very clear bipartisan message on behalf of the people that this mandate needs to be stopped.”
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Wednesday he believes there are enough Democrat House members to force a vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving of President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)
Republican senators last month coalesced around a plan to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to try to invalidate the president’s vaccine mandate for businesses that have more than 100 employees, Fox News first reported.
Under the CRA, the House and Senate can each pass a resolution disapproving of a federal regulation. If the resolution passes both houses it goes to the president to sign or veto.
It’s almost certain that Biden will veto the CRA resolution aiming to repeal a regulation he ordered his administration to put in place. But being forced to veto the bill would be an embarrassing political defeat for the president and a major victory for opponents of his vaccine mandate.
The Senate Wednesday is set to bring Congress one step closer to doing just that when it votes on its CRA resolution. Not only does the resolution have the support of all 50 Republican senators, but it has the backing of at least two red state Democrats.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks as, L-R, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., look on during a news conference about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, at the U.S. Capitol Dec. 8, 2021 in Washington. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“Over the past few months, I’ve repeatedly heard concerns from Montana’s small business and community leaders about the negative effect the private business vaccine mandate will have on their bottom lines and our state’s economy,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Tuesday. “That’s why I intend to join a bipartisan majority of my colleagues in defending Montana jobs and small businesses against these burdensome regulations.”
“I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. said last week. “I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from COVID-19.”
It’s not clear if the House of Representatives will be able to vote on the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attacked Senate Republicans for their efforts to block Biden’s vaccine mandates, so it is almost certain she will not willingly bring the bill to the floor.
Samantha Ervin, left, a pharmacist at the Upper Tanana Health Center, administers the second COVID-19 vaccine shot to Maggie Roach Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Tok, Alaska. Roach was at first hesitant to get the vaccine but changed her mind after contracting COVID-19 and nearly dying from it last summer. She now encourages other to consider getting vaccinated if they haven’t. That’s what she and her husband did. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
“We’re not going to go for their anti-vaxxing,” Pelosi said last week when some GOP senators were threatening to force a government shutdown if Congress did not block Biden’s vaccine mandates in a funding bill.
It would therefore take at least five House Democrats to join all Republicans supporting a discharge petition to force a vote on the resolution. It’s not clear there are that many House Democrats who oppose Biden’s vaccine mandates.
But if the same level of support for the resolution in the Senate holds up among Democrats in the House, it is possible that the resolution could pass and put Biden in a very difficult spot.
“Why wouldn’t they?” support the resolution, Sen Mike Lee, R-Utah, said. “Every one of them. Every last one of them will face a really large number of people in their states whose jobs will be on the line in one way or another.”