The Senate yesterday passed a resolution on a 52-48 vote to overturn President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses with at least 100 employees.
Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with Republicans, ensuring it will be sent to the House. Before anyone gets excited, it is not at all clear that Speaker Pelosi will even allow the Senate-passed resolution on the House floor. Assuming she does allow it and it passes, not assured, then it goes to the President who has to sign the resolution to make it binding. The White House has said it will veto the resolution if it ever gets to the President, and there are not enough votes to override the veto.
This is more performance art than lawmaking.
The new rule requires companies with at least 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing by Jan. 4. The rule will apply to an estimated 84 million workers across the country, or two-thirds of the nation’s workforce. It also requires employers to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated. Companies are allowed to require unvaccinated employees to pay for weekly testing.
The Senate vote on the resolution is largely symbolic, as Democratic House leaders are unlikely to take up the measure and, if it somehow passed the House, President Biden has said he would veto it. But Republican lawmakers said it’s important for them to stand up to “government overreach.”
“Getting vaccinated should be a decision between an individual and his or her doctor,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). “It shouldn’t be up to any politician, especially in a mandate coming down from the highest authority, the president.”
The Labor Department rule faces numerous legal challenges. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, ordered the administration to halt the mandate, saying it raised “serious constitutional concerns.”
The White House has vowed to “vigorously defend” the mandate against legal challenges, and the issue could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.