Republicans go all-in against vaccine mandates

Unity comes after conservatives tried to cause a government shutdown over the vaccine mandates.

Eric Garcia
Monday 06 December 2021 18:54
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Every Senate Republican and nearly all House Republicans are unifying in opposition to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, which requires large companies to ensure their staff is vaccinated against the coronavirus or that they undergo weekly testing.

More than 200 House Republicans have co-sponsored a resolution to essentially block Mr Biden’s executive order, which has been tied up in the courts. The effort unites various wings of the Republican caucus after months of internecine feuds.

Republicans have been particularly at each other’s throats since the Capitol insurrection, which led to 11 Republicans voting for former president Donald Trump’s impeachment, then again when 13 House Republicans voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The caucus boiled over again when Reps Nancy Mace and Marjorie Taylor Greene engaged in a war over Twitter and in the press.

But 206 of the GOP conference’s 213 members co-sponsoring the legislation. Both Rep Liz Cheney, who was ousted as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, and her successor, Rep Elise Stefanik of New York, are cosponsors. Similarly, Reps Greene and Mace are co-sponsors. Last week, Ms Mace praised “natural immunity” on Fox News while praising vaccines on CNN. Rep Adam Kinzinger, who has become persona non grata for his criticism of Mr Trump and is retiring at the end of his term because of redistricting, is also a co-sponsor.

Last week, some stalwart conservative Senate Republicans such as Sens Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Mike Lee hoped to cause a government shutdown. That effort failed but all 48 Republicans president vote yes for an amendment proposed by Mr Lee that would defund the mandate, despite it being defeated by the Democrats.

But since then, Sen Mike Braun of Indiana has led the charge to oppose Mr Biden’s mandate. Sen Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia, announced he would support subjecting the mandate to the Congressional Review Act, which can overturn rules by federal agencies.

Republican opposition comes when polling shows that most people support a vaccine mandate but Republican opposition is high. A Morning Consult survey from last month found that while 55 percent of voters backed requiring either vaccination or weekly testing, but 3 in 5 Republicans said it wouldn’t reduce Covid-19 cases or help the economy grow.

The opposition comes as Republicans hope to win back the House and the Senate.

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